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Rana Elkahwagy

Rana Elkahwagy

S.J.D. 2019

Graduate Fellow, Harvard Law School

Assistant Professor, Alexandria University, Egypt


The Clash between Trade and Security: Re-Framing the Global Governance of Small Arms

The regulation of small arms within the framework of conventional weapons has been rudimentary and insufficient. As an alternative, I seek to study what can international trade law offer to the small arms debate, and what are the already existing models of regulation that share similarities with small arms? My main argument is that the framing of the small arms proliferation as a security issue, like any other conventional weapon, was restricting. Looking at the international trade regime may provide appropriate tools and strategies to regulate small arms. Any regulation proposed for small arms will have to balance between different policy objectives. At the one hand, the commercial interests to export, and on the other hand, human rights pressures and public safety reasons to restrict.

There are two already existing frameworks within the international trade law, the tobacco and the pharmaceuticals regulations, that provide useful models for balancing competing interests that are somewhat analogous to those arising from the trade in small arms. It would also be crucial to look into the ways experts have framed the concerns and proposed remedies to the regulation of these products. There is significant value in explaining, problematizing and offering a complementary framework that may ultimately contribute to establishing a regulation that restricts, effectively and efficiently, the trade in small arms so as to maximize its utility while minimizing the risks it harbors for innocent people.

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • International Law and International Security with Professor Gabriella Blum, Harvard Law School, Principal Faculty Supervisor
  • International Trade Policy with Professor Mark Wu, Harvard Law School
  • International Relations with Professor Beth Simmons, Harvard University, Department of Government

Additional Research Interests

  • Public International Law
  • International Arms Trade
  • Islamic Law and Human Rights


  • Harvard Law School, S.J.D. 2019
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M. Program 2013 (requirements fulfilled, degree waived)
  • Alexandria University, Faculty of Law, Egypt, Master in Public Law, 2010-2012
  • Alexandria University, Faculty of Law, Egypt, LL.B. 2010

Academic Appointments and Fellowships

  • Harvard Law School, 2014-2016, Graduate Program Fellow, LL.M. Advisor
  • Alexandria University, Faculty of Law, Assistant Professor, 2011-Present

Additional Information

  • Languages: English, Arabic, French, Spanish

Last Updated: March 14, 2016