Ali was honored for her work at the White House, in the South African Supreme Court, with the state government of Tennessee, as an international counsel at Bass Berry & Sims, and as a consultant working to protect vulnerable communities around the world.
As a White House Fellow during 2010-11, Ali worked on bilateral negotiations on behalf of the U.S. government in Europe and the Middle East, served on the White House American-Arab “Kitchen Cabinet,” and advised on the U.S. response to the Arab Spring in 2011. In addition, Ali was asked to accompany former President Jimmy Carter on an International Election Monitor Delegation to the 2012 Egyptian Presidential Elections.
After her work in the federal government, Ali returned to her home state of Tennessee to serve as Assistant Commissioner for International Affairs under Governor Bill Haslam. In that position, she managed Tennessee’s global relations and established the state’s international strategy to benefit both urban and rural counties.
Moving from government into the private sector, Ali co-founded the Lodestone Advisory Group, a multinational consulting firm. In addition, she practices law with Bass Berry & Sims in Nashville, where she handles high-stakes business, data security and diplomacy matters.
“Samar Ali is an accomplished human rights lawyer who is truly deserving of this recognition for her work to strengthen democratic institutions and to promote peace and equality,” said Chris Guthrie, dean and John Wade-Kent Syverud Professor of Law.
In addition to the prestigious IMPACT Award, Ali and her work have been recognized by The World Economic Forum, which recently selected her as a “Young Global Leader.” She also received Vanderbilt University’s 2018 Young Alumni Professional Achievement Award and was recognized by Business Insider as one of the “People under 40 Changing the World.”
Ali is currently working on a book, From the Holy Land to the Heartland: Olives Sweet Tea–One Family’s Century-Long Quest for Peace.
Her award was presented Oct. 25 by the White House Fellows Foundation and Association at its 2018 Annual Leadership Conference.