Kenneth Roth to Join Princeton Faculty This Fall While Remaining HKS Fellow


Former Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth, who is currently a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights, will join Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs as a visiting professor for the upcoming academic year.

Roth will complete his fellowship at HKS, which concludes at the end of the fall semester, during his first semester at Princeton. In January, Kennedy School Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf reversed his controversial decision to block Roth’s fellowship, allegedly over Roth’s criticism of Israel, following widespread backlash from students and faculty.

“My fellowship with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy was originally planned for the current academic year,” Roth wrote in a statement to The Crimson. “Because of Dean Elmendorf’s initial veto of my fellowship, because of my criticism of Israel, we have now been obliged to switch the fellowship to the current calendar year.”

“Although I will have overlapping responsibilities next fall, I will do what I can to spend time at Harvard,” he added.


Roth lauded Princeton for including human rights instruction as part of its public policy curriculum. Roth is a fierce critic of the Israeli government for practices he has consistently labeled as “apartheid.”

“It understood the importance of teaching and developing this methodology as a key element of a public-policy education,” Roth wrote of Princeton. “It wasn’t the least bit concerned about my criticism of Israel.”

Roth wrote he is “greatly” looking forward to becoming a professor, though he admitted he had “a bit of trepidation” regarding teaching full courses for the first time in his career.

“I have spoken at many universities and taught plenty of individual classes, but have never taught an entire course,” Roth wrote. “I was eager to take on this new challenge, and feel that I have much to contribute in describing how human rights are enforced.”

“I look forward to elaborating in class on this broader method of enforcement to help build the next generation of human rights defenders,” he added.

Princeton SPIA Dean Amaney A. Jamal said in a press release from the school that Roth will bring a “valuable perspective” to the school’s curriculum.

“We are thrilled to have him join our faculty, further diversify our interdisciplinary approach to advancing public policy, and help continue our work to make a positive difference in the world,” Jamal said.

Roth wrote he plans to teach “a methodology that, while developed to address governments, can be used to improve the behavior of a range of institutions, even Harvard.”

Roth will return to HKS during the week of April 17 to host a variety of speaking engagements, interact with students, and be “actively involved with the Harvard community.”

—Staff writer Thomas J. Mete can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @thomasjmete.