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Tazreena Sajjad

PhD, SIS, American University, Washington D.C.

Tazreena Sajjad currently serves as Senior Professorial Lecturer in the Department of Peace, Human Rights and Cultural Relations (PHRCR) in the School of International Service (SIS) at American University. Her areas of specialization include 'post-conflict' justice, refugees and forced displacement, 'post-conflict' governance, and gender and conflict.

Sajjad's publications include 'Hierarchies of Compassion: Ukrainian Refugees and the U.S. Response,' in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs (2022), 'Once We Were Refugees: Security, Solidarity and a View from the Global South,' in the Journal of Refugee Studies (2022), 'Strategic Cruelty: Legitimizing Violence in the European Union's Border Regime,' in Global Studies Quarterly (2022), 'Refugees Welcome? The Politics of Repatriation and Return in a Global Era of Security: The Rohingyas in Bangladesh' in Displacement: Global Conversations on Refuge' (Manchester University Press, 2020), 'In Search of Imperfect Justice: Genocidal Rape and the Legacy of Nuremberg and Tokyo' in The Nuremberg War Crime Trial and its Policy Consequences Today (2020), 'What’s in a name? "Refugees," "Migrants" and the Politics of Labelling,' in Race and Class (2018).

Prior to joining SIS, Tazreena Sajjad worked in the Afghanistan program at Global Rights in Afghanistan, and in the South Asia program at the National Democratic Institute (NDI). She has also served as a research consultant for the International Rescue Committee, the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) in Kabul, Afghanistan, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Washington D.C. and the Berghof Foundation in Berlin, Germany. Her first book, Transitional Justice in South Asia: A Study of Afghanistan and Nepal was published in 2013. She currently serves as an advisor to Refugee Solidarity Network (RSN) and is a faculty affiliate of The Transatlantic Policy Center, The Immigration Lab, and The Antiracist Research and Policy Center at AU.

Dr. Sajjad is a 2020 recipient of the SIS William Cromwell Outstanding Teaching Award and the 2021 co-recipient of AU's Deputy Provost & Dean of Faculty’s Pilot Grant Award on a collaborative project on Welcoming and Potentializing the Skills of Afghan Refugees. She is the 2022 recipient of the American Institute for Bangladesh Studies (AIBS)' Senior Fellowship and the 2024 Residency Fellowship at the University of Glasgow for refugee reception and containment policies in the Global South. Her other current research examines the role of ICJ and ICC in seeking criminal accountability in protracted conflicts.

Dr. Sajjad has appeared on interviews with The Washington Post, Deutsche Welle, Al-Jazeera International, NPR, Australia’s ABC, Indus News, USA Today, À L'Orient-Le Jour, SIS Big World Podcast, and is a contributor to The Conversation.


Spring 2024

  • SISU-210 Peace, Global Sec & Conflt Res

  • SISU-210 Peace, Global Sec & Conflt Res

  • SISU-340 Topics in Global Inequalty/Dev: Migration and Development

Summer 2024

  • SISU-210 Peace, Global Sec & Conflt Res

Fall 2024

  • CORE-107 Complex Problems Seminar: No Home, No Refuge

  • SIS-712 Adv Topic Glbl Govrn Pol & Sec: Refugees, Migration & Traffick

  • SISG-771 Topics in Int'l Neg/Conflt Res: Post-War Transitions

Partnerships & Affiliations

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • Fellowship in Residence, Migration Politics, University of Glasgow, 2024. 
  • American Institute for Bangladesh Studies (AIBS) Senior Fellowship, 2022.
  • William Cromwell Award for Outstanding Teaching 2020.
  • Dean's Summer Research Award 2019, 2015.
  • Brady Tyson Award for Excellence in Work Related to Human Rights, 2011.  
  • SIS Dissertation Fellowship, 2009.
  • Abdul Aziz Said Scholarship, 2008.
  • Fellowship, Institute for Inclusive Security, 2008. 

Selected Publications


  • "A Graveyard of Convenience: Violent Maritime Pushbacks and Untimely Deaths as Strategies of Migrant Deterrence in Europe and Beyond," EU Renew, 2023
  • "Strategic Cruelty: Legitimizing Violence in the European Union's Border Regime," in Global Studies Quarterly (2022).
  • "Once We Were Refugees: Security, Solidarity, and a View from the Global South," in the Journal of Refugee Studies (2022).
  • "In Search of Imperfect Justice: Genocidal Rape and the Legacy of Nuremberg and Tokyo," in The Nuremberg War Crime Trial and its Policy Consequences Today, 2020.
  • "Refugees Welcome? The Politics of Repatriation and Return in a Global Era of Security: The Rohingyas in Bangladesh," in Displacement: Global Conversations on Refuge, 2020.
  • "What's in a Name? 'Migrants,' 'Refugees' and the Politics of Labelling," in Race and Class, 2018
  • "Too Many Enemies: Mobilization, Marginalization and Political Violence" (co-authored with Dr. Carl Anders Hardig) in The Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence, 2016 
  • "Heavy Hands, Helping Hands, Holding Hands: The Politics of Exclusion in Victims' Networks in Nepal," in The International Journal of Transitional Justice, 2016 
  • "Political-Social Movements: Community-Based: Afghanistan," in Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, Brill, 2014
  • Transitional Justice in South Asia: A Study of Afghanistan and Nepal, Routledge, 2013.
  • "Women and Peace Processes," in Women and Wars, (with Julie Mertus and Malathi de Alwis) (ed) Carol Cohn, Polity Press 2013.
  • "Rape on Trial? The Promise of International Jurisprudence, the Perils of Retributive Justice and the Realities of Impunity" in Rape: Instrument of War and Genocide (eds). John Roth and Carol Rittner, Paragon House 2012.   
  • " The War on Terror Through a Feminist Lens,"  in Human Rights in the 21st Century: Continuity and Change since 9/11 (co-authored with Julie Mertus), (eds). Michael Goodhart and Anja Mihr, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 
  • "These Spaces in Between: The AIHRC and Its Work on Transitional Justice," The International Journal of Transitional Justice, Vol 3, Oxford University Press, 2009.   
  • "Post-Genocidal Trauma and its Impact on Women in Genocide" in The Plight and Fate of Women During and Following Genocide, Vol 7. (ed). Sam Totten, Transaction Publishers, CA 2009.     

Professional Presentations

  • Gender and Politics in Afghanistan, Mary Washington University, 2021.

  • Afghanistan: What Happened, What Happens Next, Baruch College, 2021.

  • Walls, Violence and the Politics of Exclusion, American University 2021.

  • World Population Day, American University 2021.

  • Global Migration Patterns, Global Leadership Youth Program, 2021

  • SIS Panels Series: From Global to Local, 2021.

  • COVID- 19 in a Humanitarian Crisis: Effects on Refugees and Internally Displaced People in Syria and Yemen, Center for Humanitarian Law, 2020.

  • Global Insights: Refugees, Migration, and Borders, Balsillie School of International Affairs, 2020.

  • The March to Helms Deep: Borders, Walls and Fences as Security in an Era of Complex Migration, IAD, Cornell University, 2019.

  • Solidarity, Security and a View from the South: The Politics of Migrant Reception in the Global South, APSA, 2019.
  • Rohingyas and the World’s Displaced: Why Should We Care? Jalal Memorial Lecture, UMass, Boston, 2019.
  • Nationalism and Identity Politics in the Indian Ocean, Georgetown University, 2018.
  • Rethinking State Security, Decolonizing International Relations Conference, Fletcher School, Tufts University, 2018.
  • A Global Refugee Crisis: Through Refugees’ Eyes Summit, SIS, American University, 2017.
  • Peace, Refugees and Syria: A Teach-In, SIS, American University, 2016.                    
  • A Global Refugee Crisis, UN Human Rights Week, UN Foundation, 2016.
  • Women and Electoral Violence, IFES and American University, 2016.  
  • Between the Secular and the Sacred (with Anders Hardig), Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2015.        
  • Justice in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocities, Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law, WCL, American University, 2013.
  • Elections Through Her Eyes: Women's Empowerment, Inclusion & the Electoral Process, IFES and American University, 2013.
  • The Challenges for Dhaka City in the 21st Century, M-RSI, US Inter Agency Collaboration Conference, Washington D.C., 2013.
  • Analytic Exchange on Bangladesh, Bureau of Intelligence, US State Department and the National Intelligence Council, Washington D.C., 2013.
  • Understanding Shahbag: Bangladesh at Another Crossroads, CUNY 2013.
  • Gendering the Ballot Box: Electoral Violence and Women, ISA, 2013.
  • Into Thin Air: Enforced Disappearances in Bangladesh, Politics & Human Rights in South Asia, NYU, 2012.
  • Voices in the Shadows: Power, Participation and Exclusion in Transitional Justice, ISA, San Diego, 2012.
  • Conducting Human Rights Research in Conflict Zones, Human Rights Week, AU, 2011.
  • Gender, Disability, and Conflict: Dialogues for Inclusion, Human Rights Week, AU, 2010.
  • Dimensions of Inclusion: Implementing UNSCR 1325, UNIFEM, UN, NY, 2010.
  • Women in the Mix? Operationalizing Gender in Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan, ISA, 2010.
  • Presentation of Peace At All Costs: Reintegration and Reconciliation with the Taliban, US State Department, 2010.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

Research Interests

Refugees, Forced Displacement, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Governance (with a focus on Rule of Law, DDR, PMCs), Gender, Conflict and Peacebuilding.

Grants and Sponsored Research


  • AU's Deputy Provost & Dean of Faculty’s Pilot Grant Award (corecipient), 2022
  • Afghan Asylum-Seekers in the US System, International Rescue Committee, 2022
  • Bridging the Gaps: A New Framework for Gender and Electoral Violence, USAID-CMM grant with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), 2012-2016.
  • Peace At All Costs? Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, 2010

Media Appearances

  • What do we get wrong about Afghanistan? SIS Big World Productions, 2022

  • Where do Afghanistan's refugees go? The Conversation, 2021

  • Interview: Afghanistan, Scope, Indus News, 2021

  • Interview: Afghanistan, Religion and Ethics Report, Australian Broadcasting Cooperation, 2021

  • Interview: Afghanistan, This Morning with Henry Shinn, TBS eFM Radio, Seoul, 2021

  • Interview, Afghanistan, Deutsche Welle, 2021

  • Interview, Le calvaire des Afghans qui ont fui les talibans, L'Orient-Le Jour, 2021

  • Interview, Afghanistan, El Mercurio, 2021.

  • Bangladesh at 50: A nation created in violence and still bearing scars of a troubled birth, The Conversation, 2021

  • The military coup in Myanmar presents opportunities to Buddhist nationalists,  (co-authoed with Anders Hardig), The Conversation, 2021

  • As Bangladesh hosts over a million Rohingya refugees, a scholar explains what motivated the country to open up its borders, The Conversation, 2020

  • Travel Restrictions during COVID-19: How Are They Changing “Passport Privilege”? SIS in the News, 2020
  • How Refugees are Especially Vulnerable to COVID_19, SIS in the News, 2020.
  • Where Do Refugees Go? SIS Big World Productions, 2020.
  • Refugees and Covid_19, Medium, May 2020.
  • An Interview About Rohingya Refugees, Asia Experts Forum, Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies, 2018.
  • Confronting the Refugee Crisis, SIS in the News, 2018.
  • #PartitionAt70: The roots of discrimination against Bangladesh's Biharis, Al Jazeera International, 2017.
  • Confronting the Refugee Crisis, SIS in the News, AU, 2017.
  • Between the Secular and the Sacred, interview with Voice of America, 2015.
  • Q&A: Deconstructing the Chaos in Bangladesh, Al-Jazeera International,  May 31, 2013.
  • Bangladesh War Crimes Trials Stir Old Tensions, The Current, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, March 11, 2013.
  • Bangladesh's Rising Voices, The Stream, Al-Jazeera International, February 19, 2013.
  • Peace at All Costs, Stars and Stripes: US Military News Source, 2010.
  • Reintergration and Reconciliation with the Taliban, Voice of America, 2010.