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Erum Khalid Sattar

SWM Program Lead and Water Diplomacy Track Leader

Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy


Erum Khalid Sattar received her Doctorate in Juridical Sciences (S.J.D.) from Harvard Law School in 2017, where her dissertation committee consisted of Professors Mark Tushnet, James Salzman (of UCLA and UC Santa Barbara) and Amartya Sen. The late Professor John Briscoe was also a member of her dissertation committee. Her doctoral research focused on issues of water federalism and trans-boundary water sharing in the Indus River Basin. Before Harvard, she qualified to become a Barrister-at-Law from The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, London. She is the past Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Asia Quarterly, the journal of the Harvard Asia Center, and co-founded the Water Law Study Group at Harvard Law School.

Broadly, Erum studies the institutional architecture of national and international development, particularly as it relates to the development of water resources. Her research has explored British colonial-era water law and policy and its continuing effects in the Indus River Basin. Her current research is a comparison of the instrumental transformation of water law doctrine in 18th and 19th century America, the legal and institutional regimes created by the medieval-era Moors in Spain and their continuing effects in the American Southwest, and the colonial-era regime of water control created by the British in India. She is exploring these legal and institutional histories for their contemporary policy relevance at a time of growing weather and water stress with unprecedented impacts on ecosystems and the sustainable thriving of human societies.

Harvard Law School, SJD, 2017
Harvard Law School, LLM, 2010 (waived)
Queen Mary, University of London, LLM, 2008
University of London LLB (Honours), 2007

Professional Experience:
2018 – present
Adjunct Lecturer – Tufts University – Sustainable Water Management MS, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Academic year 2019-20
Visiting Professor (Semester 2) – National University of Singapore – School of Law

2018 – present
Adjunct Professor – Pace University – Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University

Winter term 2018
Part-time Lecturer – Northeastern University School of Law

Selected Professional Activities:
2019-Present: Member – Cambridge Conservation Commission
May-Dec 2019: International Water Management Institute (IWMI) – Legal Specialist

Bar Admission:
Member of the Bar of England and Wales (inactive; admitted 2010)


Evolution of Water Institutions in the Indus River Basin: Reflections from the Law of the Colorado River University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Challenge and Response in the Indus Basin Water Policy

Towards Industrial Dairy Farming in Pakistan: The End of Small Farms and the Transformation of Cattle-Rearing Practices Forthcoming Spring 2020 in the Journal of Food Law & Policy Spring 2020 (Guest Editor for special issue, Dairy Tales: Global Portraits of Milk and Law, with fellow guest editors: Professor Xiaoqian Hu, University of Arizona and Professor Jessica Eisen, University of Alberta)

Pakistan’s Fundamental Water Governance Challenges – And How to Overcome Them Rethinking Pakistan: A 21st Century Perspective 151

Water as Power: American Experts, Infrastructure Finance and the Spread of Private Property The American Way: Capitalism and Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century

Dairy Tales: Global Portraits of Milk and Law Journal of Food Law & Policy

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