Malik R. Dahlan

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Malik R. Dahlan
LL.B, GAS, LL.M, AM, Prof. Dr. jur, FCIArb
Mr.Malik Dahlan.jpg
Dahlan in 2014
Sayyid Malik bin Rabea Dahlan, Al-Hassani Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi Al-Makki
Alma materAl-Azhar University
University of Cambridge
Harvard Law School
OccupationLawyer, international mediator, negotiator
Known forRule of law, energy, political economy, Arabian history, Islamic public policy
Notable work
China's New Belt and Road Order; The Hijaz: The First Islamic State; Manliness
House Coat of Arms

Prof. Dr. Malik Rabea Dahlan (مالك بن ربيع دحلان) (born Makkah, 18 August 1979) is an international lawyer, mediator and academic specializing in international law and policy. He has founded a number of policy, research and philanthropic organizations, and has written and advised on legislative affairs, defence, energy policies, and foreign relations. He is also a UN Constitutional Expert, Oil and Gas selected by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq. He is currently a chaired professor of international law and public policy in London.

Early life and education[edit]

Malik Rabea Dahlan was born 18 August 1979 to the Al Dahlan (آل دحلان) family of Makkah. He is of the Hashemite bloodline of Sayyid Ahmad Zayni Dahlan (1816-1886) Jurisconsult of the Two Holy Mosques and Shafi'i Grand Imam of his time near the end of the Ottoman Empire. His mother, Huda Kayal, was an academic specializing in English literature at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah. His father, Dr. Rabea S Dahlan, served as Lieutenant Governor of the Emirate of Makkah from 1989 until 1999.

He attended Belmont Hill School in Belmont, MA in the USA. Dahlan read civil law and jurisprudence at Al Al-Bayt University in Jordan and then at the University of Jordan in Amman, where he obtained his bachelor's degree in law in 1999. In 2016, the University of Jordan decorated him as its 50th Anniversary Honorary Alumnus.[1]

He left to America to take government studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, in addition to receiving his American legal training at Harvard Law School, obtaining a master's degree in law in 2001. Dahlan was also the first international student to receive the Harvard Law School Dean Leadership Award. He also obtained a master's degree in regional studies at the Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

He attended Selwyn College at the University of Cambridge to train in English legal methods in 2007.

Dahlan obtained his Habilitation professorial doctorate in jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, Cairo, where he focused on statesmanship.

Legal career[edit]

Dahlan practised trade law at White & Case LLP in New York and was the chief lawyer of MBR Legal,[2] which has advised several corporations and state bodies on their activities in the Middle East, where he is also regional counsel for Twitter. He also headed the Middle Eastern practice of Washington, DC, law firm Covington & Burling LLP from 2008 to 2014.

He is well known internationally as a Rule of Law advocate in the Middle East. He served as Special Advisor to Lord Woolf, former Chief Justice of England and Wales, as well as Sir William Blair, in the establishment of the first independent English Common Law Judiciary in the Middle East from 2007-2010. Dahlan is the Founding Director of the Qatar Law Forum,[3] inaugurated in 2009, to commemorate an international agenda under the banner of "Global Commitment to the Rule of Law".

Mediation and international dispute resolution[edit]

Dahlan is a Senior Mediation Fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Task Force at the Davis Center, as way of tackling complex international disputes and bringing together dispute resolution professionals.

Dahlan was a board director of the International Mediation Institute (IMI)[4] in The Hague. He was the first CEDR-accredited mediator from the Gulf and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He trained in mediation and negotiation at the Harvard Program on Negotiation (PON) where he also taught and was awarded the Negotiation Leader Award by the late Roger Fisher (May 28, 1922 – August 25, 2012) Samuel Williston Professor of Law emeritus and director of the Harvard Negotiation Project.

He served as the founding director of the International Court and Dispute Resolution Center in Qatar (QICDRC), established in 2009, and established the framework for the King Abdullah Center for International Dispute Resolution in Saudi Arabia. In 2011, he led the US-Saudi Judicial Engagement Project[5][6] to introduce Saudi judges to American methods on alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In 2009 and 2010, Dahlan advised the parliament of Iraq on the establishment of a hydrocarbon revenue-sharing framework. He is also one of ten regional experts in constitutional affairs, selected by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, and advised the United States Trade Representative on negotiation strategy for the accession of Saudi Arabia, and on the Gulf Cooperation Council's membership of the World Trade Organization.

Policy career[edit]

Dahlan was engaged at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, from 2004-2005 and was the founding Director of the Brookings Doha Center,[7] as the first think-tank of its kind in the Middle East, which was only formally established in 2008.

He served on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Middle East. He was a trustee of the Arab British Centre[8] and is an Advisory Board Member of the Beirut Institute.[9] He is also a member of the society of fellows of the Aspen Institute and of Aspen Justice Associates.[10]

He developed the three-year Arab Governance Project with the Dubai School of Government in 2010. The project was aimed at improving the study of standards of governance and the application of the rule of law at regional and national levels.


Professor Dahlan dedicated a significant amount of his time and effort in 2018-2019 looking at China's emerging international legal policy especially the Belt and Road Initiative. He contributed to the “regionalism” versus “internationalism” debate which gave rise to a rich discourse in international trade law. Regionalism is viewed either as a way to promote international integration, or to “protect” regions and thus against the multilateral spirit that characterizes a truly global organization. He further explores this debate in China's international financial institutions. Namely, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and New Development Bank as examples.

Institution Quraysh for Law & Policy (iQ)[edit]

Dahlan established Institution Quraysh for Law & Policy (iQ) in Doha in 2005. Dahlan stated that its purpose was to provide legal and policy advice to governments, non-governmental organizations and international corporations. Since its establishment, iQ has opened offices in Jeddah, Riyadh and King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia, and London, United Kingdom.

iQ works with renowned international experts, affiliates and institutional partners to offer unparalleled regional expertise in law, political economy, policy, regulation, culture and economics with a dedicated focus on the Arabian Peninsula. It was affiliated with Covington & Burling LLP between 2008 and 2014.

In 2013, iQ launched[11] the Innovation Platform (iPlatform),[12] an independent global initiative looking into specific rule of law and governance challenges.[13] The initiative was set up following the Arab Spring uprisings to help reconstitute legal and political systems in the region.[14]

Academic involvement[edit]

Dahlan is currently the chaired Professor of International Law and Public Policy at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS), Queen Mary University of London. His specialisms are renewable energy law, geopolitics and ethics, as well as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).

In 2010, Dahlan was a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS) where he conducted research on models for regional cooperation in the Middle East. This looked at how the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) could inform attempts to mold a regional system for the Middle East. As an academic at the NUS Middle East Institute and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, he taught a course on the modern Middle East to Chinese civil servants.

In 2012, he was invited to deliver a European Union keynote address to the Royal Society of Edinburgh on the failure of Arab regional international organization and introduced his theory on Open Regionalism, on which he has published a chapter in Gulf Politics and Economics in a Changing World.[15]

From September 2014 to September 2015, Dahlan was a fellow at Cambridge University's Lauterpacht Centre for International Law affiliated with Peterhouse College.[16] While there, he wrote his book "The Hijaz: In Integration Islamic Statehood and the Origins of Arab Self-Determination".[17]

In 2016, he joined the advisory board of the Institute for Legal and Constitutional Research[18] at St Andrews University in Scotland and is a member of the academic board of HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan's West-Asia North Africa Institute (WANA).[19] Prof. Dr. Dahlan served as the International Chair of the Harvard Law School Association from 2011-2016.[20]

He is a trustee of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and Coexist House, both in London. He sits on the Advisory Board of the SOAS Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (CIMEL) Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law,[21].


Public policy[edit]

In 2018, Dahlan produced The Application of the Objectives of Islamic Law on Public Policy, a two-volume encyclopaedia on Islamic governance based on his Habilitation thesis. The work deals with the objectives (or intentionalism) of Islamic law when applied to "legitimate governance", which covers: 1) statecraft; 2) governance; 3) sovereignty and leadership; 4) institutions and rule of law; and 5) public policy.

Dahlan argues that the nature of the Caliphate is, and has always been, subject to interpretation and debate. He traces its role in establishing public interests by examining the function of the ruler and the authorities they possess, which confers on them a mandate to take decisions, propose innovations and take part in a discourse of development. Public good (maslaha), Dahlan argues, is a fundamental driver in the historical legal structure of government and so must be thoroughly examined. He concludes, that Siyasah Shar'iyyah (the Islamic notion of the social contract between ruler and ruled) is in fact the statecraft of a nation through its leaders and decision-makers in accordance to the rule of law.


In 2016, Dahlan's monograph on the Saudi philosopher and educationalist Hamza Shehata was published by Haus publishing. This took the form of a discussion of Shehata's lecture Manliness as the Pillar of a Virtuous Ethic,[22] and was intended to cast some light on a figure who represents, according to Dahlan, a distinctive strand of liberal Islamic thought that failed to flourish in the post-war Arabian world.

As well as making an original contribution to ethical and political philosophy, Shehata was active in the self-determination movement, in the years following the absorption of the Kingdom of the Hijaz into the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a process that began in 1924 with the surrender of Jeddah to Ibn Saud.

The Hijaz[edit]

Dahlan's book, The Hijaz: The First Islamic State, was published by Hurst Publishing and Oxford University Press in 2018. The Hijaz explores the question of Arab self-determination, statehood and the entry into the League of Nations of the first Islamic state and the first independent Arab state and founding signatory, Kingdom of The Hijaz, in the aftermath of the Great War. His book examines the history of The Hijaz from the points of view of Islamic governance and Westphalian conceptions of statehood as well as that of international law, and suggests how The Hijaz could play a role in reintegrating the states of the Middle East into a stable regional structure.

The Hijaz was launched on June 7, 2018 at the Oxford Union. It received much recognition at the University of Oxford, including by Vice Chancellor, Louise Richardson who was present.

Inspired by the launch of The Hijaz, speakers, including a former US Ambassador to Libya and Kuwait and the BBC’s Middle East Editor, Jeremy Bowen, gathered at the Oxford Union to debate the motion, This house believes the Western Model of Democracy is Unsuitable for the Middle East.

Ethical advocacy and responsible investment[edit]

In addition to teaching ethics, Dahlan is an active citizen in the areas of education, youth empowerment, medical research, climate change and renewable energy, interfaith, ethical finance and philanthropy.

He is an active member of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) community and sits on its President's Council as well as serving as a Director of its International Advisory Board and MGH international ambassador. He has also served as a director of the Hamad Medical Corporation in Qatar from 2005 to 2008.

In 2008, Dahlan and Omran Hamad Al-Kuwari founded GreenGulf Inc,[23] the first private clean technology and renewable energy advisory business in the Gulf focused on the development and management of renewable energy. He is currently the chairman of Green Gulf who have worked on projects with Chevron, UN COP-18, Enviromena Power Systems, Siemens, Millennium Energy Industries and Qatar Science & Technology Park.

Personal life[edit]

Malik Dahlan currently lives in London, England and has four children.

Malik is a producer of classical folk music including the Covenant of Hijaz.[24]

He is the owner of a unique aged habanos collection in London.


  • The Hijaz: The First Islamic State 2018
  • The Application of the Objectives of Islamic Law on Public Policy Al-Azhar, Samo Press, Beirut 2017. ISBN 9789933291006
  • Manliness. A Translation and Commentary on Hamza Shehata's lecture: Ar-Rujulah Imad Al-Khuluq Al-Fadel (Manliness: The Pillar of Virtuous Ethic) Haus Publishing 2016. ISBN 9780956599612


  1. ^ "Jordan University Alumni Club". 2016-01-24. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  2. ^ "The iQ Ventures". Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  3. ^ "Qatar Conference Draws Heavily from HLS - Harvard Law Today". Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  4. ^ "Malik bin Rabea Dahlan - Principal, Institution Quraysh for Law & Policy (iQ)". Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  5. ^ "IIE Administers Groundbreaking Saudi Judicial Engagement Project –". 2012-01-04. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  6. ^ "Saudi Judicial Engagement Project". 2011-12-21. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  7. ^ "2006 U.S.-Islamic World Forum : Biographies" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  8. ^ "Arab Arts, Culture & Society | Arab Events". Arab British Centre. 2016-07-22. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  9. ^ "Beirut Institute". Beirut Institute. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  10. ^ "Justice Circle". The Aspen Institute. 2016-05-24. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  11. ^ "Launch iPlatform: The Interview | UCL IPPR Blog". 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  12. ^ "Home". 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  13. ^ "iPlatform for Global Change Launch - Malik Dahlan on Vimeo". 2013-11-14. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  14. ^ "Malik Dahlan Interviewed on CNA - World Tonight". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  15. ^ "Gulf Politics and Economics in a Changing World". Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  16. ^ "Professor Malik Rabia Dahlan | LCIL | The Lauterpacht Centre". Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  17. ^ "The Hijaz: Integration, Islamic Statehood and the Origins of Self-Determination, Dhalan". Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  18. ^ "Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research – University of St Andrews". Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  19. ^ [1][dead link]
  20. ^ "Association Q&A: Malik Dahlan LL.M. '01, founder of Institution Quraysh and the HLSA of Arabia - Harvard Law Today". Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  21. ^ "The Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law at SOAS : Publications". Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  22. ^ "Hamza Shehata: Manliness - Malik Dahlan; | Foyles Bookstore". Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  23. ^ "GreenGulf Inc". Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  24. ^ "The Hijaz Covenant by Amjad El Attafi on Apple Music". 2015-04-01. Retrieved 2016-08-10.