Biography About Nadia

Nadia B. Ahmad, JD, LLM is an author, attorney, law professor, and environmental justice advocate. Her research centers on the intersections of energy siting, the environment, and sustainable development drawing on international investment law and corporate social responsibility. Professor Ahmad has spent her academic career focusing on frontline communities who are the most vulnerable to energy production.

She is a Visiting Associate Professor at Yale Law School and an Associate Professor at Barry University School of Law. She teaches environmental law, property, and business organizations. Professor Ahmad has presented her research on the law and policy of advanced biofuels in Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Cambridge, Doha, Denver, New York, and San Francisco as well as delivered a TEDx talk on "Unearthing Clean Energy."

A pioneer in the field, Professor Ahmad has developed the concept of "climate cages" to highlight how public policy responses to atmospheric dynamics limit mobility, worsen prison conditions, and increase carcerality. She has researched how solutions to the climate crisis have led to the incarceration of Black and Brown people to maximize available land, space, and resources for those who are either more affluent and/or of the more preferred race, religion, and national origin.

A prolific scholar, Professor Ahmad has published over 45 scholarly articles and book chapters that have appeared in leading academic publications, including Oxford University Press, Routledge, Springer, Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum, Vermont Law Review, Kansas Law Review, University of Miami Law Review, and Virginia Environmental Law Journal. She is a co-author of the textbook, “Environmental Justice: Law, Policy, and Regulation,” (Carolina Academic Press). She serves as affiliated faculty at Harvard Law School's Institute for Global Law and Policy and Rutgers Law School's Center for Security, Race, and Rights.

Over the past 15 years, Professor Ahmad has held various leadership positions with the American Bar Association and The Florida Bar. In 2020, she was appointed to the Council of the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, the Advisory Board of the ABA Center for Human Rights’ Dignity Rights Initiative, and The Florida Bar Journal/News Editorial Board. In 2016, she was recognized by the Orlando Business Journal as a 40 Under 40 honoree for her leadership and community involvement. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice’s Environmental Justice Committee, which was presented with the 2016-2017 ABA Committee Excellence Award. Previously, she served on the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources' Superfund and Natural Resource Damages Litigation Committee and the Water Resources Committee. She is an official expert for multilateral development organization, International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR) Taskforce on Bamboo for Renewable Energy (TFB4RE), which promotes environmentally sustainable development using bamboo and rattan. Earlier, she served as Chair of the Younger Comparativists Committee’s Linkages and Engagement Advisory Group of the American Society of Comparative Law, Regional Chair of Mid-Florida for the Florida Muslim Bar Association, Chair of the Florida Bar’s Media and Communications Law Committee and a Board Member of the City and County of Denver’s Human Rights and Community Partnerships Advisory Board. Professor Ahmad is a member of the state bars of Florida and Colorado.

Prior to joining the Barry Law faculty, Professor Ahmad was the inaugural Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Law at Pace Law School. She also worked as a Legal Fellow with Sustainable Development Strategies Group on tax policy for natural resources, community development agreements, and mineral leasing rights for projects in Afghanistan, Mali, and Mozambique. Before teaching, Nadia’s early experiences included working for a multinational oil and gas company in the Denver-Julesburg Basin and in a private law practice in Florida focusing on land use, zoning, asset protection, and bad faith insurance litigation defense. 

Professor Ahmad earned an undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature with language emphases in Latin and English from the University of California at Berkeley with high honors. Her undergraduate thesis examined representations of tradition and modernity in Indo-Anglian literature from 1947 to 1997. She completed her law degree (J.D.) from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where she was a Virgil Hawkins Fellowship recipient. At UF Law, she served as executive editor of the Florida Journal of International Law and wrote about women’s property rights in Post-Partition South Asia. Later, she earned a masters of law (LL.M.) in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, where she explored the legal barriers for the deployment of advanced renewable technologies in the Global South and worked on the editorial review of the Journal of Energy & Natural Resources Law. She is fluent in Urdu, Hindi, and Punjabi, proficient in Arabic, has a reading knowledge of Latin and has studied German, Spanish, Old Norse, Anglo-Saxon, and Middle English.

She was born in Orlando and raised in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Her parents are immigrants from Pakistan and India. She is passionate about issues relating to environmental justice, immigrant rights, demilitarization, and the abolition of mass incarceration. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and three children. She enjoys mountain climbing, hiking, wildlife photography, and social distancing and loathes listservs and parties.

Selected Academic Talks


American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, Pandemic Responsiveness, Capacity Building and Renewable Energy Generation, Law and South Asian Studies (January 5-9)


Yale Law School, Social Justice in National Security Forum, Belonging at Yale (October 28)

Yale Law School, American Constitution Society (ASC) Progressive Scholarship Workshop, The Dialogic of Environmentalism: The Health Environment Advocacy Rhetoric (HEAR) Nexus (September 14)

Inaugural Workshop for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Women in the Legal Academy, The Dialogic of Environmentalism: The Health Environment Advocacy Rhetoric (HEAR) Nexus (August 5-6)

Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, The Dialogic of Environmentalism: The Health Environment Advocacy Rhetoric (HEAR) Nexus, (June 28 – July 1)

Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, Islamic Environmental Law: Praxis, Paradigms, and New Modalities (May 27-30)

American Bar Association Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice, Dignity Rights in Asia: Humanitarian Toll of Economic Sanctions (May 24)

Environmental Law Association of South Africa, Uniontown Screening and Movie Panel (February 26)

American Society of International Law, Climate Cages, COVID-19, Climate Change, and International Law (February 16)

American Bar Association Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice, Climate Cages, When Race and the Environment Collide: The Impact of Systemic Racism on Environmental Justice (February 3)


Stockholm University, The Dialogic of Environmentalism, The Climate Crisis: Legal Safeguards for Justice and Security Workshop (December 2-3)

Vermont Law School, The Dialogic of Environmentalism, Vermont Environmental Law Colloquium (September 26)

Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, The Dialogic of Environmentalism, New Scholars Workshop, Energy, the Environment, and Technology (July 30 – August 4)  

Law & Society Conference, Environmental Justice 2020: Before and After the Pandemic (May 28)

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Climate Cages, The Moral & Legal Imperatives of the Climate Crisis (March 6)


University of San Diego School of Law, Lesley K. McAllister Symposium on Climate and Energy Law, The Future of Energy in a Changing Planet (November 8)  

Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, New & Established Voices in Property Law: Property Beyond Boundaries, Boca Raton, (July 28 – August 3)   

Southeastern Environmental Law Scholars Workshop, Silencing Environmentalism, Nashville, Tennessee (July 17-19)  

American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, Strategies for Deploying Critical Perspectives, Critical Pedagogy in the Era of Diversity, New Orleans, Louisiana (January 2-6) 


Harvard Law School, Faith-Based Approaches to Environmental Stewardship, Institute for Global Law and Policy Conference (June 1)

American Bar Association, Meta-Regulation for Environmental Reporting,Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Spring Conference, Orlando, Florida (April 18-20)

University of South Carolina School of Law, Biofuels: Hidden Costs and Lost Potential, Just Transitions and the Law Workshop (March 29-30)

Yale Law School, Water Hazards and Environmental Justice, New Directions in Environmental Law (March 3)


University of Florida College of Law, Urban Systems for Advanced Biofuels, Public Interest Environmental Conference (February 10-11)

American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, Atmospheric Trust Litigation, Hot Topic, San Francisco, California (January 7, 2017)


Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, The Baseline Bar, Energy Infrastructure in Transition: Environmental, Economic, and Justice-Based Issues in Modern Energy Law, Amelia Island, Florida (August 3-9)

Columbia Law School, Balking at Biofuels, Sabin Colloquium on Innovative Environmental Law Scholarship (May 26-27)

University of Florida Levin College of Law, Sustainable Development and Oil and Gas Drilling, Drilling for Oil off of Florida’s Coast, Public Interest Environmental Conference (February 19)

World Future Energy Summit, Incentivizing Second Generation Biofuels: Legal and Policy Mechanisms for Sustainable Energy Innovation and Investment, Abu Dhabi (January 19) 

American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, Analysis of India’s Sirsa River Valley, Environmental Futures: South Asia’s Law & Policy Challenges, New York (January 8)


Vermont Law School, Tribes and Pipelines, Environmental Law Colloquium (October 3)

University of Washington School of Law, Tribes and Pipelines, Junior Environmental Law Scholars Workshop, (July 9-10)

Harvard Law School, Islamic Environmental Law, Institute for Global Law and Policy Conference (June 1)

Columbia Law School, Tribes and Pipelines, Sabin Colloquium on Innovative Environmental Law Scholarship (May 22)

University of Georgia School of Law, Tribes and Pipelines, Association for Law, Property, and Society Sixth Annual Meeting (May 2)

Yale University, Climate & Energy Institute, Monsoon Preparedness, Hydropower, and Environmental Planning: Tropical Extremes in Monsoon Regions Workshop (April 16)

The American University in Cairo, The Genesis of Islamic Environmental Law, Third World Approaches to International Law: On Praxis and the Intellectual (February 23)


Columbia University, Balking at Biofuels in the Middle East, Second International Conference on Sustainable Development Practice (September 17)

Yale University, Meta-Regulation for Sustainability Reporting, UNITAR-Yale Conference on Environmental Governance & Democracy (September 5-7)

Harvard Law School, Balking at Biofuels, Institute for Global Law & Policy Collaborative Research Conference (June 2-3)


Harvard Law School, Sustainability as a Waqf: Biofuels in the Middle East, New Directions in Global Thought: Institute for Global Law & Policy at Five (June 3, 2013)

Texas A&M School of Law, Issues in Long Distance Energy Transmission, Fifth Annual Energy Symposium (March 22, 2013)

Hamad bin Khalifa University, Charting the Hydrokinetic Path in Pakistan, Harvard Law School Institute for Global Law and Policy Workshop, Doha, Qatar (January 5 – 13)


George Washington University Law School, Media and Stakeholder Analysis in Sustainability Reporting: Corporate Self-Regulation and Community Based Monitoring in India and Colorado, Next Generation Environmental Compliance Workshop (December 11)  

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