Prof. Matiangai Sirleaf joins the faculty



The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law welcomes Matiangai Sirleaf to the faculty as the Nathan Patz Professor of Law. Sirleaf writes and teaches in the areas of global public health law, public international law, international human rights law, international criminal law, post-conflict and transitional justice, and criminal law. Sirleaf was a visiting professor at Maryland Carey Law last year. 

Matiangai is already well-known and very highly regarded here,” said Dean Donald Tobin. “It is a privilege to welcome her to our full-time faculty. She brings unique and timely expertise that will add immeasurably to our institution.”            

One of Sirleaf’s current lines of research is the disproportionate distribution of highly infectious diseases and the role of law in facilitating this result. She has several forthcoming and recent law review articles, book chapters, and online publications in this area, including “Racial Valuation of Diseases,” forthcoming in the UCLA Law Review; “Global Health Law: Legal Foundations for Social Justice in Public Health” in Foundations of Global Health and Human Rights (2020); “Entry Denied: COVID-19, Race, Migration & Global Health,” in Frontiers in Human Dynamics; “Race, Fear & Global Health Law,” in the TWAIL Law Review; and “Responsibility for Epidemics” in the Texas Law Review. Her scholarship has been featured in AfronomicsLaw, ASIL InsightsJuristJust Security, and Opinio JurisSirleaf also serves as an editor for Just Security and recently created and edited an online symposium on “Racing National Security.” The goal of the symposium is to render race visible in national security to shift the dominant paradigm toward addressing issues of racial justice. 

Sirleaf has received multiple prestigious grants, awards, fellowships, and other honors. These include the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award, the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics Health Law Scholar Selection, the University Center for International Studies Faculty Fellowship, the New York University Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award, and a Fulbright Fellowship. 

Previously, Sirleaf was an associate professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, an assistant professor of law at the University of Baltimore School of Law, and a Sharswood Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. A graduate of Yale Law School, the University of Ghana Legon Center for International Affairs, and New York University College of Arts and Sciences, Sirleaf served in several attorney and fellow roles prior to entering academia. They include Human Rights Fellow at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll; law clerk for Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, Constitutional Court of South Africa; and Bernstein Fellow at the International Center for Transitional Justice. 

Sirleaf, who will offer classes in global public health law, international human rights law, and criminal law, is gratified to join the Maryland Carey Law family. 

 “While there are few women of color in law faculty generally, Maryland Carey Law has a phenomenal legacy of Black women legal scholars,” said Sirleaf. “They’re giants, and I’m not going to be filling anyone’s shoes, but I’m honored to be a part of that rich tradition.” 

Photo courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. 


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