Haleh Afshar is Emerita Professor of Politics and Women’s Studies at the University of York where she teaches courses on Islam and the Middle East. She is also the Visiting Professor of Islamic Law at the Faculté Internationale de Droit Comparé at Strasbourg.
She was born and raised in Iran where she worked as a journalist and a civil servant.
She has served as the Chair for the British Association of Middle Eastern Studies and Deputy Chair of the British Council’s Gender and Development Task Force. She has also served as the Chair of United Nation Association’s International Services and is now its Honorary President.
She has worked extensively with the Government on several issues regarding women and Islam, including: Patricia Hewitt’s discussion group on women and Islam; the Home Office’s Working Group on “engaging with women”; and the Home Office’s Preventing Extremism Together (PET) Working Group.
She is currently a Member of the Advisory Group for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation research project on ‘Muslims and Community Cohesion in Britain’ and a Member of the Democracy and Islam Advisory Board of the Centre for the Study of Democracy University of Westminster.
She has written extensively on Iran and Iranian politics both for academia and the media in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and South East Asia. She has had 13 edited books and two single-authored books published, including: Islam and the Post Revolutionary State in Iran in 1994 and Islam and Feminisms: an Iranian case study in 1998.
In 2005 she was awarded an OBE for services to equal opportunities, and she was appointed a cross-bench Life Peer in 2007.