Areas of Expertise
- Immigration Law
- International Law
- Natural Resources Law
- Property Law
About Mekonnen Ayano
Mekonnen Firew Ayano is a visiting assistant professor law, currently teaching Immigration Law and Natural Resources Law. His teaching interests also encompass other courses related to Property Law and International Law.
One of Professor Ayano’s research interests is property law in developing countries, giving specific attention to conflicts between international economic development institutions’ policies and practices and vulnerable communities. In addition, his current research focuses on the relation between immigration to major U.S. cities and housing law. He is also conducting research on the African legal profession’s shifting landscape as it mediates steadily intensifying economic and political relations between Africa and China. Professor Ayano has presented papers at national and international conferences on land reform in developing countries, law and history of economic development, and women’s land rights in Africa.
Professor Ayano’s legal experience includes working as a High Court Judge in a rural part of Ethiopia, deciding administrative, family, contract, and land and property cases. Following his work on the court, he served as counsel for the World Bank in Washington, DC, providing transactional and sectoral legal services for various development projects and programs in several developing countries.
Professor Ayano transitioned from legal practice to the academy, first earning an SJD from Harvard Law School. At the conclusion of his SJD studies, Professor Ayano accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, where he designed and taught a course on law and development at its law school. He spent a year at Wits Institute of Social and Economic Research (WiSER), a South African-based research institution, pursuing fieldwork for his research on law and land rights. While based in Johannesburg, he was engaged in interdisciplinary seminars on questions of legality, rights, power, and natural resource governance in postcolonial settings.
Latest Publications from Mekonnen Ayano
- PluriLand: Theorizing Conflict and Contestation in Plural Land Rights Regimes
- The Legal Profession in Africa’s Encounter with China
- Tenants Without Rights: Immigrants’ Experiences in the U.S. Low-Income Housing Market
- Formalization and Land Tenure: An Ethiopian Case Study
- Standardizing Legal Rules in a Multicultural Setting: Ethiopia’s Recent Experience in the Field of Law and Rural Development Reform