Matiangai Sirleaf is the Nathan Patz Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. She holds a secondary appointment as a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Professor 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.
Professor Sirleaf is the editor of the first thematic print volume on Race & National Security (2023) with Oxford University Press. Her work has been featured in leading law reviews such as the Cardozo Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, the Texas Law Review, and the UCLA Law Review. Professor Sirleaf’s writing appears in several textbooks with Oxford University Press like Foundations of Global Health & Human Rights (2020) and Global Health Law & Policy: Ensuring Justice for a Healthier World (2023).
Her commentary and reflections also appear in several fora such as, AfronomicsLaw, American Journal of International Law, American Journal of International Law Unbound, American Society of International Law Insights, Bill of Health, Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Jurist, Just Security, Opinio Juris, and Third World Approaches to International Law Review.
Professor Sirleaf’s scholarly agenda seeks to make visible the extant hierarchies in international law and to remedy the inequities reflected in it. Her work elucidates how seemingly neutral laws further global inequities. Her current research agenda sits at the crossroads between international human rights law and global public health law, where she analyzes the disproportionate distribution of highly infectious diseases and the role of international law in facilitating this result. Another branch of her scholarship sits at the intersection of international criminal law and transitional justice. This area of Professor Sirleaf’s scholarship proposes context-specific and locally informed approaches to providing redress to survivors of human rights violations and theorizes avenues for greater involvement of historically subordinated peoples in the making of international law. The common thread through all her scholarship whether examining issues of racial justice, civil and political violations, or socio-economic violations, is responsibility. International law conceives of responsibility in narrow ways and her scholarships seeks to render it more emancipatory.
Professor Sirleaf has received a number of prestigious grants, awards, fellowships, and other honors. These include recognition as a fellow of the American Bar Foundation (2023), the University of Pittsburgh’s Teaming Grant (2020), the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award (2019), the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics Health Law Scholar Selection (2019), the University Center for International Studies Faculty Fellowship (2018-2019), the Ford Institute for Human Security Research Grant (2016-2018), the New York University Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award (2014), and a Fulbright Fellowship (2004).
Professor Sirleaf previously served as an associate professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, as an assistant professor of law at the University of Baltimore School of Law, as well as a Sharswood Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
She held several attorney and fellow roles prior to entering academia. These roles include Human Rights Fellow at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll (2010-2012); law clerk, Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, Constitutional Court of South Africa (2009-2010); and Bernstein Fellow at the International Center for Transitional Justice (2008-2009).