Elham Manea

Dr. Elham Manea is a Yemeni-Swiss political scientist, writer, and human rights activist who focuses on the Arab Middle East. She has earned widespread recognition for writing on universal human rights, freedoms of religion and expression, and political and religious reforms.

An associate professor at the Political Science Institute at the University of Zurich, Dr. Manea’s research interests include political Islam, the politics of the Arabian Peninsula, especially Yemeni legal pluralism and Islamic Law, and gender and politics in the MENA region. She is deeply critical of religious fundamentalism and political Islam. She advocates against identity politics in European and North American countries, arguing that it creates a framework for human rights violations and enables Islamists to comport themselves as sole representatives of Islam’s diverse communities.

Her books include The Arab State and Women’s Right: The Trap of Authoritarian Governance (2011), Women and Shari’a law (2016), and Der Alltägliche Islamismus or On Political Islam (2018). More than 1.8 million readers have visited her personal online blog created in 2012 by Modern Discussion. Dr. Manea is also the family spokesperson of the jailed Saudi blogger and rights activist Raif Badawi.

In 2016 Dr. Manea was made a Senior Fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy. In December 2019 she was appointed as a member of the Swiss Federal Commission for Migration.


Saudi Arabia

Speaking out for Raif Badawi with Elham Manea

Dr. Elham Manea, Yemeni-Swiss political scientist, writer and human rights activist who focuses on the Arab Middle East, addresses the 12th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy — see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On reforms in Saudi Arabia: “It is staggering that while these winds

Saudi Arabia

Geneva Summit 2015 Courage Award with Elham Manea

Elham Manea accepts the Geneva Summit Courage Award on behalf of imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi and addresses the 7th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for full prepared remarks. Full Remarks Dr. Elham Manea: Thank you very much. We stand united in our humanity. Your precious Courage