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Former Secretary General of Amnesty International To Join Kennedy School As Senior Fellow


Amnesty International’s former Secretary General Shalil Shetty will be joining the Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy as a senior fellow in the upcoming academic year, according to a Friday press release.

Shetty served as Amnesty International’s eighth secretary general from 2010 to July 2018. Amnesty International is a human rights non-governmental organization founded in 1961 that draws attention to abuses of human rights and international law around the world.

Carr Center Faculty Director Mathias Risse said Shetty’s experience as the leader of Amnesty International is a “match made in heaven” for the center, whose mission is rooted in researching human rights globally.

"Amnesty International is one of the most visible and most important NGO's in the human rights field,” Risse said. “Human rights is what they do.”


“We are a prominent center for human rights, so it just struck immediately as a match made in heaven, especially in light of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that will be in December,” he said.

Shetty’s decision as secretary general to decentralize Amnesty International by opening various offices outside of their London headquarters led to criticism by the organization’s staff—many of whom were forced to move abroad to developing nations.

Risse, however, praised Shetty’s leadership and said his restructuring of Amnesty International was an appealing decision for the Carr Center.

“[Shetty] has greatly built the organizational presence of [Amnesty International] in the Global South,” Risse said. “One thing that we are very interested in in the Carr Center… is to highlight and emphasize the importance of the Global South for the development of human rights, to emphasize that the Global South is not just a place where human rights were received and where people benefited from the human rights movement but where people also have actively contributed to those.”

Risse also pointed to Amnesty International’s pioneering use of artificial intelligence as of “special interest” to the Carr Center in the upcoming year.

Shetty said in the press release that his upcoming term at the Kennedy School is an “exciting new opportunity for him.”

“It is a great honor to return to the Harvard University community this fall as a senior fellow," Shetty said.

“Most of the challenges we face nationally and globally are rooted in the lack of accountable governance,” he said. “I look forward to joining the Carr Center and benefit from the rich intellectual resources of Harvard Kennedy School in our collective search for solutions.”

—Staff writer Alexandra A. Chaidez can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @a_achaidez.


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