Ayesha Dawood is Fellow of the Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs, Harvard University where she focused on Digital Media Innovation, International IP, International Relations. She also engaged at the Harvard Innovation Lab. She also interacted with the MIT Media Lab.
Ayesha Dawood is an Africa based lawyer whose involvement in digital media, technology and human rights internationally, was inspired during her study for her Masters degree in Law at Harvard University. Selected as South Africa’s national candidate for the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship, she left a busy and promising growing practice to focus on her passion for international law.
After she graduated she was selected to join the United Nations and later the World Health Organisation. Based in Geneva, she was part of a network of professional international advisors on a wide range of matters.
Her extensive international experience includes assignments with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the Global Dissemination of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a project under the UN Decade for Human Rights Education. Ayesha was appointed as consultant at the World Health Organisation to develop a working paper on Health and Human Rights of Migrants.
She has also spent time at the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) in Los Angeles working on constitutional law and human rights litigation. The Queen of Jordan in co-ordination with the United Nations, invited her to join the United Nations University / International Leadership Academy (UNU/ ILA) to develop participants’ skills in dealing with international issues.
As an attorney at corporate law firm, Edward Nathan, her focus on project finance and the law relating to technology gave her a firm grounding when she turned her attention to electronic communications. She has specialised in and has extensive experience in Africa, corporate and commercial Law, project finance, technology law, mining law and human rights and philanthropy.
Recognition for her keen interest and wide experience in international law came from Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea when she was twice invited to conceptualise an interdisciplinary post-graduate course which included international law, financial engineering and perspectives of African governance.
During her work as corporate counsel at Samsung Africa RHQ she contributed to the formulation of policies that were implemented to mitigate risk while also setting up commercial offices in African countries. The issues around digital technology at the company, from intellectual property to mobile technologies – including video on demand, apps, voice recognition and distributorship and marketing and anti – counterfeit operations became the mainstay of her attention for the international company.
She was recently involved in assisting and advising one of the country’s national sports organisation to formulate a high level agreement with a new national broadcaster and in providing advice on Intellectual Property and on broadcasting rights in a manner that protected the intellectual property and to ensure high premium value for the sports body.
While she writes extensively on issues relating to the Internet and digital communications generally, she is also pioneering Digitalnfo.com, a not-for-profit initiative, that creates awareness about online issues like child safety and security and connectivity. Through the website she also champions awareness of international communications policies and their relevance.
As a result of her wide-ranging experiences and skills she is focusing on how international digital communications is influencing social and economic changes. In particular, she campaigns for bridging the digital divide.
Her latest initiative is to facilitate opportunities for young people to become familiar with coding. This innovative project, called Rails Girls, flowing from a European initiative, was the first such project in South Africa with its inaugural launch in December 2014.
In addition to her legal experience and acumen, her acute business judgment and knowledge of digital media and the vast international network of contacts contribute to enhancing services for clients.
An attorney, notary and conveyancer, she has extended her practice to include specialist advice on Digital Media Law and IP within the growing digital communications industry, issues affecting international electronic communications and the implementation of technology projects that will contribute to access to broadband.