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Michael H. Posner is a Professor of Business and Society at NYU’s Stern School of Business, where he is working to launch the first-ever center on business and human rights at a business school. Prior to joining NYU Stern, Posner served from 2009 to 2013 in the Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the State Department. From 1978 to 2009, he led Human Rights First, a New York-based human rights advocacy organization.
Posner is recognized as a leader and expert in advancing a rights-based approach to national security, challenging the practice of torture, combating discrimination, and refugee protection. He is a frequent public commentator on these issues, and has testified dozens of times before the U.S. Congress. As Assistant Secretary, Posner traveled extensively, representing the U.S. Government to foreign officials and representatives of civil society in countries of strategic importance to the United States, including China, Russia, Egypt, Burma, Bahrain, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, among many others.
Before joining Human Rights First, Posner was a lawyer with Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal in Chicago. He lectured at Yale Law School from 1981 to 1984, and again in 2009, when he taught with former Dean Harold Koh. He was a visiting lecturer at Columbia University Law School from 1984 to 2008. A member of the California Bar and the Illinois Bar, he received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall) in 1975, and a B.A. with distinction and honors in History from the University of Michigan in 1972.
Cosponsored with the Woodrow Wilson School.