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William F. Schulz
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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.

Currently Dr. Schulz is President and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee in Cambridge, MA, and serves or has served as a consultant to a variety of foundations, including the MacArthur Foundation, UN Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, and Humanity United of the Omidyar Network. He is an Adjunct Professor of Public Administration at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and an Affiliated Professor at Meadville Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago.

During his twelve years at Amnesty, Dr. Schulz led missions to Liberia, Tunisia, Northern Ireland, and Sudan. He also traveled tens of thousands miles in the United States promoting human rights causes and was frequently quoted in the media. He 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 eight years (1985-93) as President of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. He has served on the boards of People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and many other organizations.

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) as well as eight honorary degrees.

Entries by William F. Schulz

Recommitting to the Highest U.S. Ideals

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2015 | 3:01 PM

Maybe we can blame it on an evolutionary response to danger, but at times of crisis human beings tend to default to the extreme. "All Muslims could be terrorists." "Keep all refugees out." "Nowhere is safe." The more frightened we become, the more we are tempted to adopt simple solutions...

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The Rights, They Are A-Changin'

(2) Comments | Posted December 10, 2014 | 5:09 PM

This past August, Missouri voters adopted an amendment to the state constitution affirming a "right to farm." The amendment would ensure that "the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed." Opponents of the amendment claimed that it...

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Making Sure Haiti Aid Helps the Most Vulnerable

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2014 | 2:44 PM

When disaster strikes, the American people open their hearts and their wallets to provide assistance to those in need. This was especially true when a deadly earthquake struck our neighbor Haiti on January 12, 2010. Congress moved quickly to provide $1.14 billion in emergency aid with $651 million allocated to...

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Are Animal Rights 'Human' Rights?

(8) Comments | Posted December 17, 2013 | 9:15 AM

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted 65 years ago last week. Might some of its provisions one day be extended to animals or at least "higher" animals like chimpanzees? The decision by the Nonhuman Rights Project to file a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Tommy,...

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Human Rights Day 2012: Much to Celebrate But Many Unresolved Challenges

(0) Comments | Posted December 4, 2012 | 11:02 AM

"Everyone is sick and tired of this issue of human rights," Dmitri Peskov, Vladimir Putin's press secretary, said recently. "It's boringly traditional, boringly traditional, and it's not on the agenda." When I read those words, I knew human rights were here to stay. What a perfect testament to...

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California Water: No More Tadpoles, Please

(3) Comments | Posted August 8, 2012 | 6:21 PM

On a recent trip to Burma's Shan State, I was taken to see a well that provided water for three different villages. Children covered with mud from the well run-off were trying desperately to obtain water for their families. It was a daunting task because only about a foot of...

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Monrovia, Here I Come!

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2012 | 11:39 AM

In May of 1997, in the middle of the Liberian Civil War, I led a mission to Liberia on behalf of Amnesty International (AI). Elections were going on at the same time in that damaged country and Charles Taylor, among others, was running for president. It was said that his...

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A Solution for Saleh

(0) Comments | Posted December 30, 2011 | 12:51 PM

The recent decision of the US government to admit the embattled President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to the country for medical treatment presents a classic human rights conundrum. Though a friend of Saddam Hussein and conciliatory toward Iran, Saleh has been an ally of the United States'...

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Human Rights Day 2011: Signals of Hope

(2) Comments | Posted December 8, 2011 | 3:14 PM

2011 has been a momentous year for human rights. The Arab Spring alone promises to reshape the human rights landscape for generations to come. Add to that the independence of South Sudan, the apparent opening in Myanmar and, domestically, Occupy Wall Street, with its plea for a new era in...

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Famine in East Africa: It's Not Over Yet

(0) Comments | Posted November 30, 2011 | 2:35 PM

Ten days ago The New York Times carried the headline, "Somalia Famine Eases With Rainfall and Aid" and quoted UN officials as saying that the number of people facing imminent starvation in Somalia had dropped by half a million to 250,000. To those of us who have been trying to...

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Why the Left Is Often Late to Tea

(4) Comments | Posted October 14, 2011 | 3:51 PM

The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) phenomenon, as nascent as it is long overdue, represents an opportunity unparalleled in recent American history for a grassroots movement motivated by progressive sentiments to change American political culture. But in order to do so, it must learn some lessons from the Left's own history,...

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The Libya Intervention: 'Dying the Truth Along'

(1) Comments | Posted April 13, 2011 | 12:22 PM

As we enter the third week of U.N.-authorized military action in Libya, it behooves us to reflect on the larger implications of unfolding events there. I have been watching those events with a combination of trepidation and restrained applause -- trepidation, of course, because people are losing their lives and...

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Revelations From the Revolution: Tough Lessons for Human Rights

(1) Comments | Posted February 17, 2011 | 9:32 PM

The human rights community has been applauding the news from Cairo as vigorously as everyone else. Cause alone for celebration is the prospect that the 30-year-old emergency decree under which so many Egyptian were detained without trial might be a thing of the past. No one knows for sure that...

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The Jasmine Revolution: One-Time Wonder or Portent of Things Yet to Come?

(12) Comments | Posted January 15, 2011 | 6:00 PM

The overthrow of President Ben Ali of Tunisia is being hailed as a potential precursor to similar revolts against repressive regimes elsewhere in the Arab world. Democracy enthusiasts dream of falling dominos throughout the Middle East comparable to the cascade of apparently impregnable dictatorships in eastern Europe and eventually the...

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Human Rights 2011: These Tests Will Tell

(62) Comments | Posted December 31, 2010 | 12:51 PM

It's the time of year to draw up 2010's "best" and "worst" lists. When it comes to human rights, that's pretty easy. The repudiation of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" would be on the on the credit side; the continued ravishing of civilians, especially women, in Congo on the debit; and...

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