Noah Feldman, Leading Expert on Islamic Thought, Joins Council to Examine Future of Democracy in the Middle East

January 9, 2006

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January 9, 2006 — Professor Noah R. Feldman, a specialist in constitutional studies and the relationship between law and religion, constitutional design, and the history of legal theory, has joined the Council on Foreign Relations as an adjunct senior fellow. His initial focus will be to lead a study group on the compatibility of democracy and Islam. "We are thrilled to have Noah join the Studies Program," said Vice President and Director of Studies James M. Lindsay. "Noah is one of America’s leading scholars on Islamic thought. His appointment will deepen our contribution to the debate on Iraq and the future of democracy in the region."

Feldman is also a professor at the New York University School of Law, where he has worked since 2001, when he left Harvard University as a junior fellow of the Society of Fellows. He has served as senior constitutional adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and advised members of the Iraqi Governing Council on drafting the interim constitution. Previously, Feldman was a visiting professor at the Yale and Harvard law schools and a fellow of Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center. He has served as law clerk to Justice David H. Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court and to Chief Judge Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

Feldman received his AB summa cum laude in Near Eastern languages and civilizations from Harvard University in 1992. Selected as a Rhodes Scholar, he earned a DPhil in Islamic thought from Oxford University in 1994. He received his JD from Yale Law School in 1997, serving as book review editor of the Yale Law Journal. He is the author of three books: Divided by God: America’s Church-State Problem and What We Should Do About It (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005); What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building (Princeton University Press, 2004); and After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003).

Feldman also litigates constitutional cases before the federal courts, and lectures on law, religion, and the Middle East. He is a contributing writer for theNew York Times Magazine and a Council term member.

Founded in 1921, the Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, national membership organization and a nonpartisan center for scholars dedicated to producing and disseminating ideas so that individual and corporate members, as well as policymakers, journalists, students, and interested citizens in the United States and other countries, can better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other governments.

Contact: Lisa Shields, Communications, +1-212-434-9888,

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Middle East and North Africa



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