Kavakci Islam is a Lecturer of International Relations George Washington University. She was elected to the Turkish Parliament, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in 1999. However she was prevented from serving her term by the secularists because she wears a headscarf. Kavakci's political party was closed down and her Turkish citizenship was revoked, banning her from politics for a period of five years. She took her case to European Court of Human Rights and won in 2007.
A widely recognized international public figure, Kavakci addressed the British Parliament House of Lords, United Nations Commission on Human Rights, US Congress Helsinki Commission and Interparliamentary Union. She has lectured at myriad of American, European and Canadian Universities including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Cambridge, Berlin, Milan, Insburg and Ottowa universities.
Kavakci is recognized among the World's Most Influential 500 Muslims. She was recognized among "Women of Excellence" by NAACP and GWU in 2004. She was awarded the Public Service Award in Tribute and in Recognition of efforts for the advancement of human rights and Muslim Women's empowerment by International Association for Women and Children in 2000. She was awarded Service to Humanity Award by Haus Der Kulturellen Aktivitat und Toleranz in Vienna, Austria in 1999. She was granted Mother of the Year Award by Capital Platform of Ankara and National Youth Organization in 1999.
Kavakci holds a Ph. D in political science from Howard University, an MPA from Harvard University and a BS in Software Engineering from University of Texas at Dallas. Prior to that Kavakci attended the Medical School of Ankara University however was not permitted to continue due to the headscarf ban.
Kavakci is a consultant for US Congress on the Muslim world and a columnist for Turkish daily Vakit newspaper. She sits at the Editorial Board of Mediterranean Quarterly. She is the author of six books and numerous articles.
Kavakci is the author of Basortusuz Demokrasi (Turkish) which has been translated to Arabic and Persian and also forthcoming in English and French. She is mother of two, Fatima and Mariam.
2008-Present: Editorial Advisory Board, Mediterranean Quarterly
2009: Member, Islamic Resource Bank