Suzanne Nossel was named executive director of PEN America in January, 2013. Her career has spanned government service and leadership roles in the corporate and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining PEN, she served as executive director of Amnesty International USA. Before joining Amnesty, Nossel served as deputy assistant secretary of state for International Organizations at the U.S. Department of State, where she was responsible for multilateral human rights, humanitarian affairs, women’s issues, public diplomacy, press, and congressional relations. Nossel has also served as chief operating officer for Human Rights Watch and deputy to the ambassador for U.N. Management and Reform at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. In the private sector, she has served as vice-president of U.S. Business Development at Bertelsmann Media Worldwide, vice-president of strategy and operations for The Wall Street Journal, and a consultant at McKinsey & Company.
During the early 1990s Nossel worked in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the implementation of South Africa’s National Peace. Nossel is the author of a 2004 article in Foreign Affairs entitled “Smart Power,” and coined the term that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a defining feature of U.S. foreign policy.
Nossel is also a columnist for Foreign Policy and has published hundreds of blog entries, op-ed pieces, and numerous scholarly articles. She is the author of Presumed Equal: What America’s Top Women Lawyers Really Think About Their Firms, and has served as a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, the Center for American Progress and the Council on Foreign Relations. Nossel is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Tides Foundation and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.