Amnesty International USA Announces Leadership Transition: Suzanne Nossel Selected as New Executive Director of Human Rights Organization

Press Release
November 17, 2011

Amnesty International USA Announces Leadership Transition: Suzanne Nossel Selected as New Executive Director of Human Rights Organization

Larry Cox Concludes Four-Year Tenure with Major Campaign Advancements

Contact: Gwen Fitzgerald, 202-509-8194, gfitzgerald@aiusa.org

(NEW YORK) — Amnesty International USA today announced its new executive director,Suzanne Nossel, a human rights lawyer and activist, with executive experience in the private sector and government. She will begin the role on January 2, 2012, and will be based in the organization's New York office.

The AIUSA Board of Directors selected Nossel, following a comprehensive national search, due to her combination of human rights expertise, executive management and government relations experience. As the organization seeks to expand the U.S. human rights movement and strengthen U.S. influence on the promotion of human rights globally, the Board noted that Nossel's accomplishments and leadership experience, particularly in her advocacy and management roles in and outside government, are the right match for the moment.

Most recently, Nossel served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, where she was responsible for multilateral human rights, humanitarian affairs, women's issues, public diplomacy, press and Congressional relations. In that capacity, Nossel played a leading role in U.S. engagement at the U.N. Human Rights Council, including the initiation of human rights resolutions on Iran, Syria, Libya, Cote d'Ivoire, freedom of association and freedom of expression. Prior to that, she served as Chief Operating Officer of Human Rights Watch. Nossel previously served as deputy to the Ambassador for U.N. Management and Reform at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. She has also worked as a vice president at Bertelsmann Media Worldwide and The Wall Street Journal and as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School and has been a fellow and scholar at the Century Foundation, the Center for American Progress and the Council on Foreign Relations.

AIUSA Board of Directors Chair Carole Nagengast said, "AIUSA's Board is excited that Suzanne Nossel will assume leadership of this organization at this critical time. It is wonderful that AIUSA will benefit from Suzanne's unique combination of human rights insight, activism, and accomplishments, as well as experience across the non-profit, government and corporate sectors. She is a change agent, as well as a respected author and experienced fundraiser; she will, therefore, bring significant attention to AI's vital human rights agenda. As the organization seeks to heighten its impact on numerous front-burner human rights issues globally, Suzanne is undoubtedly the right leader for AIUSA."

"I am so pleased to join Amnesty International USA at this moment of challenge and opportunity," said Nossel. "The drive for political freedom in the Mideast and the demands for greater economic equality here at home are just two examples of the centrality of human rights to some of the most important issues on the global agenda today."

Nossel will use her extensive and varied skills and experience to shape Amnesty International's work in mobilizing the United States on behalf of human rights issues at home and abroad. AIUSA partners with and defends activists in the Middle East and North Africa who are bravely demanding their rights; Amnesty is also at the forefront of advocacy on critical human rights issues in the United States – including immigration, health care, the death penalty, corporate abuses, and respect for civil liberties in the context of national security.

Nossel will follow the success of departing Executive Director Larry Cox, who served from 2006 - 2011. Cox led the organization in expanding a diverse, de-centralized grassroots movement. During his tenure AIUSA's work contributed to significant policy advances, including abolition of the death penalty in three states: New Jersey (2007), New Mexico (2009) and Illinois (2011), and enactment of the Tribal Law and Order Act to streamline access to justice for crimes of sexual violence against Native American and Alaska Native women.

Most recently, AI led efforts to place the execution of Troy Davis on the international agenda. Although the enormous pressure AIUSA and coalition partners generated could not stop the execution, AI galvanized millions of people, including many new supporters, and is already mobilizing them to stop future executions and advance the abolition of the death penalty.

"We are grateful to Larry for his years of dynamic and indefatigable service to AIUSA and the broader human rights movement," said AIUSA Board Chair Carole Nagengast. "Larry has moved the organization significantly toward our goal of ensuring AIUSA's leadership within a robust and broad-based domestic human rights movement that improves human rights at home and abroad. His inspiring vision has positioned AIUSA very well to carry on this work."

"I first came to Amnesty International because I believed this organization's power to ignite and support human rights advancements was unmatched. Thirty-five years later, I still believe that," said Cox. "I am proud of all that AIUSA has accomplished in the past five years, and I am optimistic about advancements yet to come."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

 

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