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Helping At-Risk Scholars Escape Danger

April 18, 2024

Eric Feldman and Jawad Moradi

Prof. Eric A. Feldman worked to ensure the safety of former Visiting Scholar Jawad Moradi from Afghanistan.

As recently featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Eric A. Feldman, Heimbold Chair in International Law, Professor of Law and Deputy Dean for International Programs, played an instrumental role in bringing Jawad Moradi to the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School from Afghanistan as part of the University’s At-Risk Scholars Program, launched in 2021.

Moradi was a Visiting Scholar at Penn Carey Law in 2022-23. He is one of six at-risk scholars that Penn has hosted since the program started with the goal of helping scholars escape persecution and danger. With Feldman’s support, Moradi focused on studying and passing the bar exam, and he now works as corporate counsel for a Delaware financial firm.

From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

When the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan in 2021, Jawad Moradi feared that he would be put in prison, or worse.

Five years earlier, he had earned his master of laws degree at Duke University. Because of his U.S. legal education and interaction with colleagues in the United States and elsewhere, he was at risk. And as a member of a minority population that had been targeted by the Taliban, he was even more vulnerable.

“I had to hide myself in my house,” he said.

But one day, dressed in drab clothes to escape detection, he and his wife traveled a risky route lined with Taliban checkpoints, from Kabul to a northern province, where an evacuation flight arranged by a deputy director at a U.S. university collaborative awaited him.

He found himself in a refugee camp in the United Arab Emirates and nearly a year later in the United States, at the University of Pennsylvania’s Carey Law School.

“What would I do if I didn’t have this support from Penn?” Moradi, 35, often wonders.