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Human Rights Watch Seeks New Executive Director

Authentic, Inspirational Leader Sought to Steer Renowned International Human Rights Group

(New York) – Human Rights Watch (HRW) is seeking a new Executive Director to lead the organization’s global human rights work and advance its endeavor to secure justice, dignity, and freedom for all. The Executive Director will help to shape the world agenda on upholding human rights, and will deploy exceptional influence across governments, businesses, institutions of justice, and civil society to create lasting and impactful change. The Board of Directors has selected the global leadership advisory firm, Spencer Stuart, to assist the Board in this succession.

The search for HRW’s new leader comes at a time of unprecedented challenge and opportunity for the human rights movement. The successful candidate will be a seasoned human rights expert and experienced organizational strategist, with a proven track record of building global partnerships and coalitions. This highly visible role will require a leader with courage, conviction, and empathy, and an ability to inspire and lead by example.

With a strong senior leadership team already in place and a long-held reputation for rigor and independence in its human rights work, HRW seeks an innovative leader who can build on the organization’s legacy and strengths and drive its programmatic and wider strategic direction to ensure that HRW is well-positioned to meet the challenges of tomorrow. This new leader will have the vision to seek out opportunity in the face of these challenges, and actively shape the future not just of HRW but of the wider human rights movement as well.

The Executive Director will also steward Human Rights Watch through an ongoing internal transformation process that the organization has been undertaking to ensure that its structures, processes, and culture are fully aligned with HRW’s global strategy. As the head of an organization staffed by highly-skilled and passionate activists, the Executive Director will scrupulously uphold and model HRW’s core values and behaviors, and actively nurture a working culture of inclusion, collaboration, and excellence – one where HRW’s global, diverse, and talented staff can thrive.      

The position of Executive Director has become vacant after Human Rights Watch’s leader of 29 years, Kenneth Roth, stepped down earlier this year. During his almost three decades at the helm, Roth transformed HRW from a small group of regional “watch committees” to a major international human rights organization with global influence.

Human Rights Watch is an independent, international organization with a staff of roughly 590 people of 79 nationalities, including world-leading country experts, lawyers, journalists, data analysts, and others. They fight to protect the human rights of people most at-risk, from vulnerable minorities and civilians in wartime, to refugees, children, and older people. HRW has an annual budget of US$100 million, and at the heart of its human rights investigations is an unwavering commitment to justice, dignity, and compassion.

The opening of the Executive Director position at HRW is a rare and exciting opportunity to lead this global organization at a pivotal moment for the human rights movement. Human Rights Watch looks forward to welcoming a visionary and compassionate new leader to help us build a better future and a world where justice, dignity, and freedom for all prevail.

To learn more about this position, please visit:
Job Application for Executive Director at Human Rights Watch (

For more information about Human Rights Watch, please visit:
Human Rights Watch | Defending Human Rights Worldwide (

To submit nominations, please use the confidential email inbox which will be monitored by Spencer Stuart:

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