Dehlia Umunna becomes first Nigerian to be appointed as professor at Harvard

Nigerian Dehlia Umunna has been appointed as a professor at Harvard Law School, making her the first Nigerian to secure such an honourable position. Umunna who is the deputy director and clinical instructor at Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) has been lecturing at the prestigious school since 2007.

She is also an author and her teaching interest and research focuses on criminal law, criminal defence and theory, mass incarceration and race issues.

Speaking on her appointment, Umunna said: “I am blessed and honoured to join Harvard Law School’s remarkable faculty. I relish this extraordinary opportunity to continue work that I am truly passionate about, and I am grateful for the deep interest and commitment of the school to issues of criminal justice, mass incarceration, indigent defence and social justice.”

The 43-year-old professor also got recognised for her outstanding service to the HLS community. She once received Harvard Law School’s Dean’s Award for Excellence and the Southern Public Defender Training Centre Outstanding Faculty Mentor of the Year Award. The recognition acknowledged her as a stellar student supervisor, staff manager, lecturer, coach and mentor.

Interestingly, she holds a law degree from the George Washington University Law Centre, a Master’s in Public Administration (MC) from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a BA in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino.

From 2002 to 2007, Umunna was an adjunct professor of Law and Practitioner in Residence at American University, Washington College of Law.

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