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“William Schulz…has done more than anyone in the American human rights movement to make human rights issues known in the United States” -- The New York Review of Books, June, 2002.
From the refugee camps of Darfur, Sudan, to the poorest villages in India; from the prison cells of Monrovia, Liberia, to the business suites of Hong Kong to Louisiana’s death row, Dr. William F. Schulz has traveled the globe in pursuit of a world free from human rights violations. As Executive Director of Amnesty International USA from 1994-2006, Dr. Schulz headed the American section of the world’s oldest and largest international human rights organization.
Dr. Schulz is currently the President of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee; Adjunct Professor of Public Administration at the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University as well as an Affiliated Professor at Meadville/Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago. He is or has been a consultant to many foundations, including the Kellogg Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Humanity United of the Omidyar Network, and the UN Foundation, regarding field surveys and evaluation, coalition building, grantee leadership, governance, strategic planning and other issues. During 2006-07 he served as a Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He is an Affiliated Community Minister at the First Parish, Unitarian Universalist, in Bedford, MA.
During his twelve years at Amnesty, Dr. Schulz led missions to Liberia, Tunisia, Northern Ireland, and Sudan and visited other places as diverse as Cuba and Mongolia. He was tailed by Tunisian secret police, threatened with assassination by Liberian warlord Charles Taylor and his appeal for reconciliation of Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland brought tears to the eyes of then Prime Minister David Trimble.
He also traveled tens of thousands miles in the United States, spreading the human rights message from campuses to boardrooms to civic organizations. A frequent guest on television programs such as Good Morning, America, The Today Show, Hardball and Nightline, Dr. Schulz is the author of two books on human rights, In Our Own Best Interest: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All (2001, Beacon Press) and Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights (2003, Nation Books); and the contributing editor of The Phenomenon of Torture: Readings and Commentary (2007, University of Pennsylvania Press)and The Future of Human Rights: US Policy for a New Era (2008, University of Pennsylvania Press). All of this prompted the New York Review of Books to say in 2002, “William Schulz…has done more than anyone in the American human rights movement to make human rights issues known in the United States.”
An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, Dr. Schulz came to Amnesty after serving for fifteen years with the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA), the last eight (1985-93) as President of the Association. As President, he led the first visit by a U. S. Member of Congress to post-revolutionary Romania in January, 1991, two weeks after the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu. That delegation was instrumental in the subsequent improvement in the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in Romania.
Dr. Schulz has served on the boards of People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the International Association for Religious Freedom, the world’s oldest international interfaith organization, among many others. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; serves on the selection Committee for the annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award and is a member of the boards of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy and the Save Darfur Coalition, among others.
Dr. Schulz has received a wide variety of honors, including eight honorary degrees (University of Cincinnati, Grinnell College, Lewis & Clark College, Meadville/Lombard Theological School, Nova Southeastern University, Oberlin College, The Sage Colleges, and Willamette University), the Public Service Citation from the University of Chicago Alumni Association and the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Oberlin College Alumni Association. He has been included in Vanity Fair’s 2002 Hall of Fame of World Nongovernmental Organization Leaders and was named “Humanist of the Year” by the American Humanist Association in 2002.
Dr. Schulz is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Oberlin College, holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago and the Doctor of Ministry degree from Meadville/Lombard Theological School (at the University of Chicago). He is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the East.
He is married to the Rev. Beth Graham, also a Unitarian Universalist minister. Dr. Schulz has two grown children from a previous marriage.