2017 Tailwind Scholarship Recipients
We recognize and congratulate these bright young Muslim students.
Studying human rights through the prism of religion and law
Name Yusuf Lenfest
School Harvard University
Major Religion, Ethics, and Politics
“I am broadly interested in how human rights are originated through law and religion, and how public policy can enable this. Just as literature offers an authentic glimpse into the state of affairs in a region, law and public policy—in their international reach—can each reveal the role that jurisprudence plays between people and state. Having studied Islamic law from an indigenous perspective, as well as politics from a Western academic perspective I’m now interested in working comparatively on the relationships between different legal systems—between Western and Middle Eastern, for example. Ultimately, I want to help create or facilitate a forum in which ideas for the establishment of universal rights are shared and disseminated collaboratively, diplomatically, and via public policy.
Hope is the consequence of action, and it is only by acting that we generate transformative change. As much as I love the pursuit of knowledge, I believe that it is also crucial to address, in practical ways, issues concerning society and the public interest. My interests in public policy and law as a way to bring about social change is therefore the product of my desire to create opportunities through both academic work and public service, particularly related to education—what I see as the cornerstone of justice, helping persons move toward perspicacity and pluralism.
I envision myself in the next 5-10 years as a practicing lawyer in the field of education and public policy. My desire to study law stems from my work in academe and from personal experiences, both of which have made me sympathetic to the injustices facing citizens and refugees alike, abroad and in America. It is likely that I would never have gotten where I am now had it not been for hard work and the enabling generosity of scholarships like Tailwind. Having overcome my personal hurdles has inspired me to want to serve the public interest. I know that through law and public service I can accomplish what I want to do. The Tailwind Scholarship in combination with my studies in law, religion and society will help me to meet these goals so that I am able to help others realize the crucial role education plays in the world and the opportunities it creates therein.”