June July 7, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Michael H. Posner to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) at the Department of State.
Michael Posner currently serves as the President of Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) and has been at the forefront of the international human rights movement for more than 30 years. Posner has traveled to more than 50 countries in all regions of the world on behalf of Human Rights First and other organizations. He has worked to support human rights defenders in countries as diverse as Russia, Zimbabwe, Iran, Cuba, China, Uganda, Haiti, the Philippines, El Salvador and Egypt. He also has been actively involved in promoting the rights of refugees and displaced people, and has taken a leading role in promoting stronger industry standards to ensure fair labor conditions in global manufacturing supply chains. Posner is a frequent public commentator and his opinion essays have appeared in newspapers and magazines around the country. He also has testified dozens of times before the U.S. Congress on a wide range of human rights and refugee topics. Before joining Human Rights First, Posner was a lawyer with Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal in Chicago. Posner lectured at Yale Law School from 1981 to 1984, and again in 2009. He has been a visiting lecturer at Columbia University Law School since 1984.
A member of the California and Illinois Bars, as well as the Council on Foreign Relations, he received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall) and a B.A. from the University of Michigan.