Human Rights First Announces Election of New Board Chairs

NEW YORK — Human Rights First today announced that at the most recent meeting of its Board of Directors, Donald Francis Donovan and Sanja Partalo were elected to serve terms as Co-chairs.  

Mr. Donovan serves as arbitrator in major international legal cases after retiring from active practice as counsel and advocate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP at the end of 2021. Ms. Partalo is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of S4S Ventures, a venture capital firm, after serving as Global Head of Strategic Development & Partnerships at marketing giant WPP (NYSE: WPP); she came to the United States from war-torn Bosnia as a teen through a refugee resettlement program.  

 “Human Rights First’s mission of advancing human rights and justice in the U.S. and around the world demands legal expertise like Donald’s and communications and technology expertise like Sanja’s. It’s exciting to turn the leadership of our Board to these long-time colleagues,” said Human Rights First’s departing Board Co-chair Mona Sutphen, who will continue to serve on the Board.  

Michael Rozen, who is also passing the mantle of Co-chair of the Board to Donovan and Partalo added, “the skills Sanja and Donald bring to Board leadership will add to Mona’s and my efforts to support the organization’s strong work in countering extremism, addressing authoritarianism, facing systemic injustices, and applying technology to human rights issues.”

 “Sanja and Donald have long been active and effective members of our Board of Directors, and I look forward to working with them as Co-chairs,” said Human Rights First’s president and CEO Michael Breen. “Their commitment to human rights in the United States and around the world is underlined by their decisions to lead our Board.”

“This is a pivotal moment in this country and around the world, and Human Rights First has an important role to play in making sure that the fundamental rights of people continue to be respected,” said Donovan. “I look forward to helping the organization lead that critical work as Co-chair of the Board.”

 “I came to this country as a refugee so I have an intimate understanding of how transformative Human Rights First’s work is for those seeking asylum,” said Partalo. “I also know how critical all its pillars of work – including addressing extremism, authoritarianism, and the use and abuse of technology – are to the front-line defense of our commitment to human rights. I look forward to leaning in to my life experience as a refugee, business leader, and advocate in serving as Co-chair of this more than 40-year-old organization.”  


Published on September 19, 2023


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