Hauwa Ibrahim is entering her fifth year at Harvard University. Prior to joining Harvard Divinity School Ibrahim were a Radcliffe Fellow and a jointly appointed Fellow to the Human Rights Program and the Islamic Legal Studies Program.
Hauwa Ibrahim was born in a rural village Hinnah, in Gombe State of Northern Nigeria where she was ingrained with values that have strengthened her life's journey and resolve. Moving from a more simple village life that included household chores such as water and firewood portage, evolving to a State supported girls education, Hauwa eventually trained as an attorney with the goal of contributing to justice for those who may not have its access. Working as a lead attorney with a team
devoted to the cause of human rights for women in Nigeria, she has won a number of precedent-setting cases before Islamic Shariah courts.
While a Radcliffe fellow, Ibrahim adopted an interdisciplinary approach to delve into the theoretical foundations of Shariah law and examine how they have influenced legal practice, which has, in turn, affected the human rights of women. Her approach has been to honor and respect the law, and always work within it, taking personal responsibility for the long-term consequences of the outcomes.
For her work, she has been honored with awards such as the European Parliament 2005 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, which honors individuals or organizations for their efforts on behalf of human rights and freedoms. She was the first sub-Saharan African woman to be awarded this prize as well as the Cavaliere Award, the highest Human Rights Award from the Italian Government.
In addition, Hauwa Ibrahim has been awarded Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy degrees at: Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany, and Godwin University College, Honorary Doctorate in Human Letters, CT, USA. She has been appointed as a visiting professor in colleges and universities in Europe and the USA: Visiting Professor Harvard University, Visiting Lecturer Saint Louis University School of Law, Stonehill College, University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany, College of William and Mary, and World Fellow at Yale University.