Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Mayesha Alam always looked up to her father, an engineer, and her mother, who was among the first generation of women in the Bangladesh civil service. When Mayesha was a child, her family moved to Jakarta, where they lived under the Suharto regime. Witnessing Indonesia's volatile transition to democracy shaped Mayesha's worldview and solidified an interest in peace building and diplomacy, which led her to Mount Holyoke College for a bachelor's degree and Georgetown University for a master's.
Mayesha cofounded the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, which she dedicated herself to for five years. She has also worked with the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Her 2014 book, Women and Transitional Justice: Progress and Persistent Challenges in Retributive and Restorative Processes, was inspired by her work at the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission of Kenya and by her parents' experiences surviving the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
Mayesha is now pursuing a PhD in political science at Yale University. She intends to be a public intellectual and stateswoman who shapes civic discourse on human rights and leads principled and effective national security and foreign policy engagement. Her doctoral studies are driven by a desire to bridge theory and practice on questions related to international politics and international law, specifically related to preventing, resolving, and rebuilding after violent conflict.