Susan Hendrickson to Serve as Human Rights First’s Interim President and CEO

Human Rights First’s Board of Directors appoints Susan Hendrickson, a nationally recognized lawyer, human rights advocate, and expert on emerging technology to serve as interim President and CEO. Hendrickson, who is also a board member, will lead the almost 50-year-old organization as it conducts a search for a new chief executive.

Hendrickson is charged with leveraging her extensive global expertise at the intersection of law, technology, business, and human rights to bolster Human Rights First’s work countering extremism, combatting authoritarianism, supporting accountability, challenging systemic injustice, addressing the use and abuse of technology, and protecting the rights of refugees. She brings decades of experience working with legal frameworks and multi stakeholder forums to foster rights-respecting and responsible business practices and government policy. She was also instrumental in the development of the innovation lab at Human Rights First to empower the human rights movement with new technology tools.

Hendrickson joins from the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society where she was the Executive Director and a Global Technology Governance Fellow. She also was a lecturer at Harvard Law School on classes relating to human rights and technology. While at Harvard, Hendrickson’s work focused on how AI and other emerging technologies impact democracy, human rights, and societal well-being.

Hendrickson recently advised the Christchurch Call on its launch as a Foundation to continue its mission of eliminating terrorist and violent online extremism; participated in consultations with the U.S. government on AI and rights-respecting technology; and serves on the steering committees of the Laboratory for Women’s Rights Online and the Laboratory for Online Child Protection, initiatives with global reach that bring together governments, international organizations, NGOs, private platforms, researchers and key stakeholders, working to defend women’s and children’s rights online.

“Sue’s experience navigating complex multi stakeholder initiatives and emerging technologies’ impact on people’s lives and the health of our democracy ideally equips her to guide Human Rights First as society grapples with a rapidly changing landscape,” said Lynda Clarizio, Co-Chair of Human Rights First’s Board of Directors. “I and the rest of the board look forward to working with Sue to ensure that the organization continues to deliver on its mission to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law.”

“Technological change and innovation present new threats to fundamental rights and freedoms,” said Hendrickson. “It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to guide an organization with a decades-long track record of delivering results. I look forward to working with the team at Human Rights First at this moment when the need for strategic and principled advocacy is critical.”

Prior to working at the Berkman Klein Center, Hendrickson was a partner at Arnold & Porter, where she co-headed the Technology and Life Sciences Transactions practices. In addition to serving on the Human Rights First board, Hendrickson also currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Laboratory for Women’s Rights Online, the Executive Committee of the Child Online Safety Lab, the AI Governance Advisory Board of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, the board of KID Museum, and as a senior fellow at the Datasphere Initiative.

Hendrickson was named as one of the Leading Lawyers in America for Technology Law, as one of the Top 250 Women in IP, and as the Best Lawyers’ “Technology Lawyer of the Year” in Washington, DC.  She graduated from Harvard College, Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School, and was an editor at the Harvard Law Review.


Published on May 29, 2024


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