Five years ago, Malik Dahlan LL.M. ’01 founded Institution Quraysh for Law & Policy (iQ). With bases in London; Doha, Qatar; and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the firm advises corporations, governments, and public entities on issues of law, politics, culture and economics in the Middle East. An active member of the HLSA, in 2009, Dahlan founded the Harvard Law School Association of Arabia, which will have its official launch this fall. This spring, he shared his vision for his firm and the HLSAA.
What are your goals for iQ?
iQ’s objective … is to bring the knowledge of good laws and policy to the Arab world, by supporting efforts to strengthen the rule of law, as well as to participate in the sustainable development of the region. I get a lot of gratification in knowing that … we have worked, in some small fashion, to help develop a region, with a young generation that is yearning for a change to the better.
What prompted the founding of HLSA of Arabia?
Seeing that an increasing number of HLS alumni are taking up leadership roles within the Arab region, we genuinely believe that HLSAA, through its members, will have a transformative role in the future of the Middle East through upholding the rule of law. This [was reinforced] through the presence of our vice president, Dr. Walid Hegazy LL.M. ’95, and a number of other members at Tahrir Square in Cairo last February during the demonstrations.
The official launch of HLSAA, in Egypt, was postponed. When will it happen?
We had planned to host this auspicious event on March 25, 2011, in Cairo [to coincide with HLSA’s 125th anniversary celebrations], as this would have been an ideal platform. … Cairo also has significance as the city where President Barack Obama ’91 made his famous speech on the 4th of June 2009. … As the political situation at the time was not stable, and before President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, it was decided, with a heavy heart, to postpone this event until fall 2011. Although we are disappointed …, what Egypt and the wider Arab world have gained following the initial events in Cairo by way of the rule of law is indeed very precious.
We are evaluating other Arab countries to host the event, and I am happy to report that we are considering the state of Qatar; we just received this morning a letter from the prime minister of Qatar, H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani, inviting HLSAA to hold the event in Doha in the fall. We continue to plan to have in attendance Dr. Osama El-Baz LL.M. ’61, as a keynote speaker, along with Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League, as well as several distinguished HLS alumni such as Wilfried Hofmann LL.M. ’60, Dr. Salah Eddin Al-Bashir LL.M. ’88 and Minister Hadef Al-Dhaheri LL.M. ’83. In addition to this, we will also be honoring His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani LL.M. ’56, HLS’s first Arab alumnus.
You have served as secretary of the HLSA UK and still are on the executive board of the worldwide association. In addition, you are helping plan events for the 125th anniversary celebrations. Why so involved?
I owe so much to HLS. At the exact same time as my own father was being persecuted unjustly back home, I was roaming the aisles of Langdell and Ames Hall enduring to uphold my faith in the law. It changed me as a person and as a professional. It offered me the opportunity to meet the love of my life, Sarah, my wife. I was privileged to be the first international student to receive the Dean’s Leadership Award, and therefore and ever since my ZIP code was 02138, I felt that there is an important international role for HLS and its international community.