Haleh Esfandiari is the Director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In her native Iran, she was a journalist and also served as Deputy Secretary General of the Women's Organization of Iran.
Esfandiari is the author of Reconstructed Lives: Women and Iran's Islamic Revolution (1997), editor of Iranian Women: Past, Present and Future (1977), co-author of Best Practices: Progressive Family Laws in Muslim Countries, co-editor of The Economic Dimensions of Middle Eastern History (1990) and also of the multi-volume memoirs of the famed Iranian scholar, Ghassem Ghani.
Her most recent work, My Prison, My Home is her memoir about the four months she spent in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin Prison in 2007, “the sort of place people ‘disappear’ from” (Slate).
The first recipient of a yearly award established in her name, Esfandiari is also the recipient of the Special American Red Cross Award (2008), an honorary degree from Georgetown University Law Center (2008), the Women's Equality Award from the National Council of Women's Organizations (2008), Miss Hall’s School Woman of Distinction Award (April 2009), and the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.”