Universiteit Leiden

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Maha Ali

PhD candidate

M. Ali
+31 71 527 5477

Maha Ali is a doctoral researcher working under the Chair of UN Studies in Peace and Justice. As part of her research, Maha is exploring the role of Asian states at the UN, since its inception, within the European Research Council (ERC) funded project - "Global South Challenging the Liberal World Order from Within."

More information about Maha Ali

Fields of interest

Maha's research interests lie mainly in human rights and development policy; multilateral institutions; international justice and gender; post-colonial legacies in Asia and their impact on international politics.


Maha is carrying out research on the role of Asian states (India, China, Indonesia and Thailand) in historically shaping global political discourse, taking into account the extent to which these states have played a part in altering the discourse on ‘development’ at the UN. While considering the role of Asian states at multilateral forums, instances of south-south cooperation, such as the Bandung Conference of 1955, have emerged, demonstrating a quest for political, social and economic rights and freedoms, and a political position against colonialism and imperialism. This spirit essentially continued to exist as part of the global south agenda, in a commitment towards peace, and a refusal of both economic subordination and socio-cultural suppression- two of the major policies of imperialism.

Maha explores varying East-centric narratives, contributing towards more inclusive and robust policies at the UN, with research on constitutionality, regional political dynamics, international obligations and domestic commitments to reveal the degree of role these elements have played in shaping international politics and foreign policy for these Asian States, whereby recovering historical agency of the global south, which has so far been presented through a diluted narrative at the UN.

Curriculum vitae

Maha holds a BA-LLB (Hons) degree in law, policy and humanities from Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan. During her time in Pakistan, she worked for Sindh Human Rights Commission, Government of Sindh, as an Advocacy and Communications Consultant. Later, she worked as a Legal Analyst for the Chief Minister Punjab’s Office (Strategic Reforms Unit), Government of Punjab, where she drafted the Punjab Women Protection Authority Act, 2017, and the Punjab Shehr-e-Khamoshan Authority Act, 2017. She also initiated work on a legislation for rehabilitation of senior citizens in Punjab, as well on gender equality reforms and women's rights in Sindh, while providing pro-bono consultancy to Salman Sufi Foundation, Pakistan.

Maha was also responsible for the implementation of the first Violence Against Women Center established in Pakistan in March 2017. She provided legal trainings and monitored cases of violence being reported within the all-female-run facility.

In 2018, she received her LLM degree in Human Rights
Law, with a specialization in international justice, from Central European University, Budapest. She has also worked on various human rights law and policy projects with International Labour Organization, European Roma Rights Center, Open Society Foundation and Asia Europe Foundation. Currently, she is pursuing her Doctoral degree at Leiden University.

Key publications

Ali M. (2018), Restitution of Conjugal Rights in Islam, Research Society of International Law Annual Law Review, Pakistan, 116-119.

PhD candidate

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Institute for History
  • History and International Studies

Work address

Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 0.11b


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