Suzanne Nossel became AIUSA’s first female executive director on January 3, 2012. Prior to joining AIUSA, she 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.
Nossel played a leading role in U.S. engagement at the UN Human Rights Council, including the initiation of human rights resolutions on Iran, Syria, Libya, Cote d’Ivoire, freedom of association, freedom of expression and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. Prior to that she served as Chief Operating Officer for Human Rights Watch where she was responsible for organizational management and spearheaded a strategic plan for the global expansion of the organization. During the Clinton Administration she served as deputy to the Ambassador for U.N. Management and Reform at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations where she was the lead representative of the United States in the U.N. General Assembly negotiating a deal to settle the U.S. arrears to the world body. After leaving the United Nations, she served as vice president of U.S. Business Development at Bertelsmann Media Worldwide and then as vice president of strategy and operations for the Wall Street Journal. She was the founder of the blog www.democracyarsenal.org and has served as a Senior Fellow at the Century Foundation, the Center for American Progress and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Prior to her government service, Nossel served as a consultant at McKinsey & Company. During the early 1990s she worked in Johannesburg, South Africa on the implementation of South Africa’s National Peace Accord, a multi-party agreement aimed at curbing political violence during that country’s transition to democracy. Nossel has done election monitoring and human rights documentation in Bosnia and Kosovo. She is also the author of Smart Power (Foreign Affairs, 2004) and Presumed Equal: What America’s Top Women Lawyers Really Think About Their Firms (Career Press, 1998) as well as numerous other articles on human rights and U.S. foreign policy.