Suzanne Nossel

Suzanne Nossel

Suzanne Nossel currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of PEN America, the leading human rights and free expression organization. Since joining in 2013, she has doubled the organization’s staff, budget, and membership, spearheaded the unification with PEN Center USA in Los Angeles and the establishment of a Washington, D.C. office, and overseen groundbreaking work on free expression in Hong Kong and China, Myanmar, Eurasia, and the United States. She is a leading voice on free expression issues in the United States and globally, writing and being interviewed frequently for national and international media outlets. Her prior career spanned government service and leadership roles in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. She has served as the Chief Operating Officer of Human Rights Watch and as Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. During the first term of the Obama Administration, Nossel served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, where she led U.S. engagement in the United Nations and multilateral institutions, on human rights and humanitarian issues. During the Clinton Administration, Nossel was Deputy to the U.S. Ambassador for UN Management and Reform at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, where she was the lead negotiator in settling U.S. arrears to the world body. During her corporate career, Nossel served as Vice President of U.S. Business Development for Bertelsmann and as Vice President for Strategy and Operations for the Wall Street Journal. Nossel coined the term “Smart Power,” which was the title of a 2004 article she published in Foreign Affairs Magazine and later became the theme of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tenure in office. Nossel is a featured columnist for Foreign Policy magazine and has published op-eds in The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, and dozens of other outlets, as well as scholarly articles in Foreign Affairs, Dissent, Democracy, and other journals. Nossel serves on the Board of Directors of the Tides Foundation. She is a former senior fellow at the Century Foundation, the Center for American Progress, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Nossel is a magna cum laude graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

Recent Publications

“Trump’s Divisive Speech Puts the First Amendment at Risk”
Foreign Policy, October 31, 2018

“Trump’s Attacks on the Press Are Illegal. We’re Suing.”
Politico, October 16, 2018

“Journalists are Routinely Murdered Around the World. They Deserve Outrage Just Like Jamal Khashoggi”
Los Angeles Times, October 16, 2018

“Google Is Handing the Future of the Internet to China”
Foreign Policy, September 10, 2018

“The Job of Human Rights Chief Isn’t What You Think”
Foreign Policy, August 9, 2018

“What the Trump Administration Gets Very Wrong About Free Speech”
CNN, August 7, 2018

“Once Upon a Time, Helsinki Meant Human Rights”
Foreign Policy, July 11, 2018

“Sometimes More Speech Isn’t the Solution to Offensive Speech” 
The Washington Post, May 29, 2018

“You Can Only Protect Campus Speech if You Acknowledge Racism” 
The Washington Post, May 25, 2018 

“Rex Tillerson Proved CEOs Are DOA in Washington”
Foreign Policy. March 13, 2018

“We Cannot Continue to Treat All Offensive Speech Acts – Intentional or Not – As Equally Blameworthy”
Pioneer Press, March 11, 2018

“Serving Under Trump Is Not a Crime”
Foreign Policy, February 7, 2018

“Trump’s Every Tweet Shouldn’t Dominate the News Cycle, but His Blather Demands Confrontation”
Los Angeles Times, January 16, 2018

“Not all Campus Speakers are Created Equal (Especially When They’re From the German Far Right)”
The Washington Post, October 31, 2017

“NFL Owners Need to Play Defense to Protect Free Speech” 
The Washington PostOctober 15, 2017

“The Pro-Free Speech Way to Fight Fake News”
Foreign Policy, October 12, 2017

“The Jemele Hill Controversy Portends a World Stripped of Our Culture of Free Expression”
Los Angeles Times, September 15, 2017

“The Problem with Making Hate Speech Illegal”
Foreign PolicyAugust 14, 2017

“How We Communicate is Changing. So Should the Way We Think About Free Speech.”
The Washington Post, August 11, 2017

“The Gross Misconduct of Radwan Ziadeh’s Asylum Denial”
Foreign Policy. July 25, 2017

“No, Hateful Speech is Not the Same Thing as Violence.”
The Washington Post, June 22, 2017

“It’s OK that Trump Doesn’t Care About Human Rights”
Foreign Policy, June 19, 2017

“Can Freedom of the Press Survive Trump’s Onslaught?”
Foreign Policy, May 3, 2017

“Beware the Ides of Leaving the Human Rights Council”
Foreign Policy, March 14, 2017

“‘America First’ Puts Freedom and Leadership Last”
CNN, March 5, 2017

“What’s at Stake When Trump Discredits the Press”
Just Security, March 1, 2017

“Donald Trump Acts Like an Authoritarian Thug Toward the Press”
The Guardian, January 12, 2017

“To Fight ‘Hate Speech,’ Stop Talking About It”
The Washington Post, June 3, 2016

“Pushing Back Against the Tyrants”
Democracy, Summer 2016

“What U.S. Publishers Owe China”
The Washington Post, May 26, 2016

“Europe’s Free-Speech Apocalypse Is Already Here”
Foreign Policy, March 17, 2016

“Who is Entitled to Be Heard?”
The New York Times, November 12, 2015

“Who Will Speak for China’s Dissidents”
Los Angeles Times, September 20, 2015

“The Fight Over Jemele Hills Tweets Won’t Go Away, It’s About Truth and Race in The Trump Era”
The Washington Post, Sep 19, 2015

“Closing a Vital Window Into China”
Foreign Policy, Februrary 4, 2015

speaking engagements

Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education: Race, Racial Justice, Civil Discourse, and Free Speech | University of Maryland
October 17, 2018

The Future of Information and the Impact on Democracy | 22nd Forum 2000 Conference
October 8, 2018

The Future of Free Speech | Chatauqua Institution
July 24, 2018

Trigger Warning: Safe Spaces are Dangerous | Intelligence Squared
June 23, 2018

Free to State: The First Amendment and the Law | Washington Post Live
June 19, 2018

TEDxScarsdale
March 10, 2018