Human Rights First Appoints Maureen K. Byrnes as New Executive Director
NEW YORK — Oct. 3 — Human Rights First announced today that it has appointed as its new Executive Director Maureen K. Byrnes, who currently serves at The Pew Charitable Trusts in Philadelphia as Director of Policy Initiatives and the Health and Human Services Program. Byrnes, who will assume her position in January 2006, succeeds current Executive Director Michael Posner, who will move into the new position of President of Human Rights First.
“We are delighted to bring someone of Maureen’s expertise, ability and commitment to fundamental rights to Human Rights First,” said Posner. “Maureen’s experience in Washington and as a policy advocate — and her focus on achieving real-world results — makes her an ideal leader for the mission of Human Rights First.”
Byrnes joined the Pew Charitable Trusts in 1997 after nearly 20 years in Washington, DC. Byrnes was Vice President of the Association of American Universities where she was responsible for the association’s government relations activities for research, particularly as these activities related to biomedical and health policy issues (1992 to 1997) and she served as the Executive Director of the National Commission on AIDS (1989 to 1991). In her earlier career on Capitol Hill, Byrnes served as both majority and minority staff director for the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations.
Under her leadership, the Trusts’ HHS program established a strong reputation for its ability to identify and seize opportunities to help solve tough policy problems. Its approach focused on engaging experts, exploring divergent views and building broad consensus for change. During her tenure, the Trusts made important contributions to help reform America’s troubled foster care system; successfully undertook a major effort to help improve the nation’s ability to track disease; and helped define and address challenging science and technology issues.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to work with the board, staff and supporters of Human Rights First to build on its remarkable record of advancing justice and human rights,” said Byrnes. “I am deeply committed to the mission of Human Rights First and to the people it serves, as well as to helping create a strong future for an organization solidly rooted on a foundation of nearly three decades of service.”
As Executive Director, Byrnes will be responsible for managing Human Rights First’s program, communications and Washington advocacy as well as the institutional operations of the organization. In his new position as President, Posner will continue to help shape the organization’s overall mission, while taking on more public speaking, writing, and media advocacy for the organization.