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  • Writer's pictureBahar Ansari

S3Ep12: The Realization of Peace with Banafsheh Akhlaghi

Updated: Oct 24, 2021

In today’s episode of Lawvely, you’ll hear from Banafsheh Akhlaghi, a pioneering civil and human rights attorney, educator, bestselling author, and social entrepreneur. Banafsheh started her career as a professor of constitutional law at the John F Kennedy School of Law and went on to found the National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement (NLSCA), a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the human rights and dignity of Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian people, which emerged as one of the leading advocates for human rights for those communities in the post-9/11 era. She has also worked as a consultant for the United Nations Development Fund for Women and is the former Western Regional Director for Amnesty International, with her practice area today also including intellectual property rights and immigration defense. In this episode, she shares her passion for people and the constitution, her journey toward realizing peace in her lifetime, and why she believes that human relationships are at the center of legal systems. We also touch on how younger generations represent hope for the future, Banafsheh’s collaborative approach to constitutional law reform, consistently choosing humanity over capital, as well as intellectual property, and the role that ethical technology plays in upholding human and civil rights — plus so much more! Banafsheh also leaves us with some powerful advice when it comes to the realization of peace: do not believe anyone who tells you that it’s impossible. Make sure not to miss this conversation with inspirational author, attorney, and advocate, Banafsheh Akhlaghi.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Banafsheh on her upbringing and her journey toward realizing peace in her lifetime.

  • How her uncle’s imprisonment altered how she viewed her role in mobilizing for change.

  • Find out how Banafsheh came to teach constitutional law and founded the NLSCA.

  • Her belief that peace exists where you are when you perpetuate it within your communities.

  • Why Banafsheh believes that laws are simply manmade doctrine; it’s about relationships.

  • The deliberate, peaceful, systematic effort that is required to advocate for peace for all.

  • Banafsheh emphasizes the importance of finding your tribe, linking arms, and moving the cause forward one step at a time.

  • How the younger generation brings hope for the future with intention and consciousness.

  • Transforming the disconnect between the “white, male, and stale” make up of congress and the diverse population of the US.

  • Magnifying the power of underrepresented groups by putting them in decision-making seats.

  • Banafsheh’s advice for the commission appointed to constitutional law reform: take inspiration from the South African and Indian constitutions.

  • Why Banafsheh believes we need to reevaluate the ways we treasure capital over humanity.

  • Find out what corporations can do to advocate for human rights through compassionate capitalism and ethical technology.

  • Banafsheh’s take on the intersection between data privacy, technology, and human rights.

  • Intellectual property and why Banafsheh is a proponent of “that which you create, it is yours.”

  • Why our laws are only as strong as the people who enforce them.

  • Banafsheh’s advice for those who wish to realize peace in their lifetime: do not believe it when people tell you that it’s impossible.

  • Find out what she means when she says “find your side of the blanket.”

  • The practical benefits of getting yourself on the board of a non-profit or startup organization.

  • The power of finding your voice, whether it’s in the arts, on stage, or on paper, and getting your message out.


“They say your environment and the conversations that you are part of truly shape the trajectory of your life. In my home, the conversations were about [mobilizing for change].” — Banafsheh Akhlaghi [0:08:26]

“The one thing that I am clear about is that peace exists where we are.” — Banafsheh Akhlaghi [0:13:54]

“It’s finding your tribe and locking arms and moving the movement, the cause, the vision forward, even if it’s one step at a time — and it generally is one step at a time.” — Banafsheh Akhlaghi [0:25:38]

“[If you] have gender equality [in congress], you have race equality there, you have religious equality there; when you start having these folks with their backgrounds and their viewpoints sit together, truly, you are magnifying the power of those groups.” — Banafsheh Akhlaghi [0:36:40]

“We need to reevaluate how we treasure capital over humanity, how we treasure growth of an economy over the growth of the human being in [that] economy.” — Banafsheh Akhlaghi [0:45:58]

“Do not believe when people tell you [that realizing peace] is impossible.” — Banafsheh Akhlaghi [1:02:04]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:



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