UCLA School of Law professor Asli Ü. Bâli was awarded the 2017 Middle East Studies Association Presidential Award at the organization’s annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 19. She was cited for her efforts to advance academic freedom and oppose President Trump’s travel ban, which sought to limit entry into the United States of people from several majority-Muslim countries.
Bâli focuses her scholarship on international human rights law and comparative constitutional law. She is the inaugural faculty director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA Law, and also serves as the director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies.
In 2017, Bâli led UCLA Chancellor Gene Block’s Immigration Advisory Council, which convened to analyze and recommend strategies to support immigrants on campus following the travel ban. The university took a strong position on behalf of students who are immigrants. Bâli also co-edited a book, Constitution Writing, Religion and Democracy (Cambridge University Press) exploring how constitution-drafters in 14 countries addressed religious conflicts.
The Arizona-based Middle East Studies Association is a learned society that unites global scholars who work to advance education, communication and cooperation in the study of the Middle East.