Susan M. Akram

Clinical Professor of Law

BA with honors, University of Michigan Ann Arbor
JD, Georgetown University
Diplome in International Human Rights,
Institut International des Droits de l’Homme, Strasbourg (France)
Masters of Studies, International Human Rights Law, University of Oxford

Areas of Interest
Immigration Law & Policy, International & Comparative Law

Professor Susan Akram directs BU Law’s International Human Rights Clinic, in which she supervises students engaged in international advocacy in domestic, international, regional, and UN fora. Her research and publications focus on immigration, asylum, refugee, forced migration, and human and civil rights issues, with an interest in the Middle East, the Arab, and Muslim world.

Akram’s distinguished research was recognized with a Fulbright Senior Scholar Teaching and Research Award for the 1999–2000 academic year. She has lectured on Palestinian refugees to general audiences around the world as well as to committees of the United Nations (including the High Commission for Refugees and the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees), the European Union, and representatives of European and Canadian government ministries and parliaments. Since September 11, 2001, she has presented widely on the USA Patriot Act and immigration-related laws and policies as well as on her work challenging standard interpretations of women’s asylum claims from the Arab/Muslim world.

With her clinic students as well as in collaboration with other legal organizations, Akram has worked on resettlement and refugee claims of Guantanamo detainees, and has been co-counsel on a number of high profile cases, including the 20+-year litigation of a case of first impression on the interpretation of one of the exclusion bars to asylum, In Re A-H-. She has taught at the American University in Cairo, Egypt and at Al-Quds and Birzeit Universities in Palestine. She regularly teaches in the summer institute on forced migration at the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University, and in various venues in the Middle East on refugee law.

  1. Susan Akram, "Extrapolating Lessons from a  Master Mentor: What Bob Burdick Taught Me," 101 Boston University Law Review 835 (2021).
    Publisher | Scholarly Commons
  2. Susan Akram, "The Past as Present, Unlearned Lessons, and the (Non-)Utility of International Law," 44 North Carolina Journal of International Law 389 (2019).
    HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  3. Susan Akram, "Assessing the Impact of the Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration in the Middle East," 30 International Journal of Refugee Law 691 (2018).
  4. Susan Akram, "The Search for Protection for Stateless Refugees in the Middle East: Palestinians and Kurds in Lebanon and Jordan," 30 International Journal of Refugee Law 407 (2018).
  5. Closing Protection Gaps: Handbook on Protection of Palestinian Refugees in States Signatories to the 1951 Convention, 2d edition, Susan Akram & Nidal Al-Azza, eds., Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Rights (2015).
    Publisher | Scholarly Commons
  6. Susan Akram, "Operation Protective Edge and Why Getting the Law Right Matters," in Symposium Abandoned Yet Central: Gaza and the Resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, The Institute for Palestine Studies (Spr 2015).
  7. Susan Akram et al., " Protecting Syrian Refugees: Laws, Policies, and Global Responsibility Sharing," 7 Middle East Law and Governance 287 (2015).
  8. Susan Akram, Karen AbuZayd, Denis Sullivan & Sara Roy, "The Syrian Humanitarian Crisis: What Is to Be Done?" in Symposium The Syrian Humanitarian Crisis, 22 Middle East Policy 1 (2015).
  9. Susan Akram, "Self-Determination, Statehood, and the Refugee Question under International Law in Namibia, Palestine, Western Sahara, and Tibet," in Still Waiting for Tomorrow: The Law and Politics of Unresolved Refugee Crises 75, Susan Akram & Tom Syring, eds., Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2014). Publisher | Scholarly Commons
  10. Still Waiting for Tomorrow: The Law and Politics of Unresolved Refugee Crises, Susan Akram & Tom Syring, eds., Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2014).
    Publisher | Scholarly Commons
  11. Susan Akram, "UNRWA and Palestinian Refugees," in The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies 227, Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Gil Loescher, Katy Long & Nando Sigona, eds., Oxford University Press (2014). Publisher | SSRN | Scholarly Commons
  12. Susan Akram, "The Legal Trajectory of the Palestinian Refugee Issue: From Exclusion to Ambiguity," in Palestine and the Palestinians in the Twenty First Century 121, Rochelle Davis & Mimi Kirk, eds., Indiana University Press (2013).
  13. Susan Akram, "Millennium Development Goals and the Protection of Displaced and Refugee Women and Girls," in Symposium Migration and Human Rights, 2013 Laws 283 (2013).
    SSRN | Publisher | Scholarly Commons
  14. Susan Akram, "The Rights of Palestinian Refugees and Territorial Solutions in Historic Palestine," in The Failure of the Two-State Solution: Prospects of One State in the Israel-Palestine Conflict 171, Hani Faris, ed., I.B. Tauris Publishers (2013).
  15. Susan Akram & Michael Lynk, "Arab-Israeli Conflict," in Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Rudiger Wolfrum, ed., Oxford University Press, 499 (2012).
    Publisher | SSRN | Scholarly Commons
  16. Susan Akram, "Do Constitutions Make a Difference in the Protection of Fundamental Human Rights? Comparing the United States and Israel," in The Dynamics of Constitutionalism in the Age of Globalisation 89, Morly Frishman & Sam Muller, eds., Hague Academic Press (2010). SSRN
  17. International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Rights-Based Approach to Middle East Peace, Susan Akram, Michael Lynk, Iain Scobbie & Michael Dumper, eds., Routledge Publishers (2010).
  18. Susan Akram, "Refugees and the Right of Return," in Encyclopedia of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Cheryl Rubenberg, ed., Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1233 (2010).
  19. Susan Akram, "Myths and Realities of the Palestinian Refugee Problem: Reframing the Right of Return," in Symposium Commemorating the Naksa, Evoking the Nakba, 8 MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies 183 (2008).
    SSRN | Scholarly Commons
  20. Susan Akram, "The Arab Charter on Human Rights 2004," 24 Boston University International Law Journal 147 (2007). [English] [revised by Susan M. Akram; translated by Dr. Mohammed Amin Al-Midani & Mathilde Cabinettes]
    Westlaw | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline | Scholarly Commons
  21. Susan Akram, "Are They Human Children or Just Border Rats?" 15 Boston University Public Interest Law Journal 187 (2006).
    Westlaw | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline | Scholarly Commons
  22. Susan Akram, review of John Quigley, The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective, Duke University Press (2005), 26 Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 154 (2006).
  23. Susan Akram & Michael Lynk, "The Wall and the Law: A Tale of Two Judgements," 24 Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights 61 (2006).
    SSRN | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline | Scholarly Commons
  24. Susan Akram & Maritza Karmely, "Immigration and Constitutional Consequences of Post-9/11 Policies Involving Arabs and Muslims in the United States: Is Alienage a Distinction without a Difference?" 38 U.C. Davis Law Review 609 (2005).
    Westlaw | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline | SSRN | Scholarly Commons
  25. Susan Akram & Kevin R. Johnson, "Race and Civil Rights Pre-September 11, 2001: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims," in Civil Rights in Peril: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims 9, Elaine C. Hagopian, ed., Pluto Press (2004).
  26. Susan Akram & John Quigley, "A Reading of the International Court of Justice Opinion on the Legality of Israel's Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories," The Palestine Center: A Briefing Paper (July, 2004).
  27. Susan Akram & Terry Rempel, "Temporary Protection as an Instrument for Implementing the Right of Return for Palestinian Refugees," 22 Boston University International Law Journal 1 (2004).
    Westlaw | SSRN | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline | Scholarly Commons
  28. Susan Akram & Kevin R. Johnson, "U.S. Measures Against Terrorism: The Civil Rights Impacts," in Anti-Terrorist Measures and Human Rights 137, Wolfgang Benedek & Alice Yotopoulos-Marangopoulos, eds., Martinus Nijhoff Publishers (2004).
  29. Susan Akram, "The Aftermath of September 11, 2001: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims in America," 24 (Special Issue) Arab Studies Quarterly 61 (2002).
  30. Susan Akram, "Orientalism Revisited in Asylum and Refugee Claims," in Human Rights and Moral Imperialism: A Critical Anthology 61, Berta Hernandez-Truyol, ed., New York University Press (2002).
  31. Susan Akram, "Palestinian Refugees and Their Legal Status: Rights, Politics and Implications for a Just Solution," 31 Journal of Palestine Studies 36 (Spring 2002).
  32. Susan Akram & Kevin R. Johnson, "Race, Civil Rights, and Immigration Law After September 11, 2001: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims," 58 New York University Annual Survey of American Law 295 (2002). Reprinted in 24 Immigration and Nationality Law Review 3 (2003).
    Westlaw | SSRN | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  33. Susan Akram & Guy Goodwin-Gill, "Brief Amicus Curiae on the Status of Palestinian Refugees under International Law," 11 Palestine Yearbook of International Law (2000-01).
  34. Susan Akram & Terry Rempel, "Durable Solutions for Palestinian Refugees: A Challenge to the Oslo Process," 11 Palestine Yearbook of International Law (2000-01).
  35. Susan Akram, "Reinterpreting Palestinian Refugee Rights under International Law," in Palestinian Refugees and the Right of Return 165, Naseer Aruri, ed., Pluto Press (2001).
  36. Susan Akram, "Fora Available for Palestinian Refugee Restitution, Compensation and Related Claims," BADIL - Information & Discussion Brief (2000). [English and Arabic]
  37. Susan Akram, "Orientalism Revisited in Asylum and Refugee Claims," 12 International Journal of Refugee Law 7 (2000).
    SSRN | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  38. Susan Akram, "Palestinian Refugee Rights: Parts 1, 2 and 3," in Information Briefs , The Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine (July & August 2000). [News & Analysis section]Publisher
  39. Susan Akram, "Reinterpreting Palestinian Refugee Rights Under International Law, and a Framework for Durable Solutions," Conference Briefing Papers (2000). Conference: The Right of Return: Palestinian Refugees and Prospects for a Durable Peace
  40. Susan Akram, "Temporary Protected Status and its Applicability to the Palestinian Refugee Case," BADIL - Information & Discussion Brief (2000). [In English and Arabic]
  41. Susan Akram, "Immigration and National Identity: Membership, Difference and (Trans)National Imagination," 93 American Society of International Law Proceedings 212 (1999).
    HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  42. Susan Akram, "Scheherezade Meets Kafka: Two Dozen Sordid Tales of Ideological Exclusion," 14 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 51 (1999).
    Westlaw | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  43. Susan Akram, "The World Refugee Regime in Crisis: A Failure to Fulfill the Burdensharing and Humanitarian Requirements of the 1951 Refugee Convention," 93 American Society of International Law Proceedings 213 (1999).
    Westlaw | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  44. Susan Akram, Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook, v.2, Advanced Topics, Susan Akram, ed., American Immigration Lawyers' Association (1995).
  45. Susan Akram, "Traps for the Unwary, or Major Issues on Judicial Review of Deportation Decisions under INA Section 106," in The Immigration & Nationality Law Handbook , American Immigration Lawyers' Association (1995).
  46. Susan Akram et al., Medical Testimony on Victims of Torture: A Physician's Guide to Political Asylum Cases, Physicians for Human Rights (1991).
  47. Susan Akram, "Historic Court Decision Protects First Amendment Rights of Dissident Aliens," 18 Immigration Newsletter (Spring 1989).
  48. Susan Akram, Asylum - A Guide to Establishing Pro Bono Programs, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Palo Alto (1987).
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