LeadershipMichael Posner, Co-director and Professor of Business and Society
Michael H. Posner is the co-director of the Center for Business and Human Rights and a Clinical Professor of Business and Society at Stern. From September 2009 until March 2013 he served in the Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the State Department. From 1978 to 2009, he was the Executive Director and the President of Human Rights First, a US-based human rights advocacy organization.
As Assistant Secretary of State, Posner travelled to more than 40 countries where he represented the U.S. government on a wide range of human rights issues. He has played a major role in shaping U.S. policy from inside and outside of government on issues ranging from refugee and asylum law and policy, national security and human rights, Internet freedom, and business and human rights. Throughout his career, he has been active in several leading organizations in the field of business and human rights, including the Fair Labor Association, the Global Network Initiative, and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.
Before going in to government, Posner played a key role in proposing and campaigning for the first U.S. law providing for political asylum, which became part of the Refugee Act of 1980, as well as the Torture Victim Protection Act, which was adopted in 1992. In 1998, he led the Human Rights First delegation to the Rome conference at which the statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was adopted.
Posner lectured at Yale Law School from 1981 to 1984, and again in 2009. He was a visiting lecturer at Columbia University Law School from 1984 to 2008. He received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley Law School in 1975, and a B.A. with distinction and honors in history from the University of Michigan in 1972.
Sarah Labowitz, Co-director and Research Scholar
Sarah Labowitz is the co-director of the Center for Business and Human Rights a research scholar on business and human rights at the NYU Stern School of Business. She has worked on issues of business and human rights for almost a decade, with expertise in the areas of labor rights in supply chains and Internet policy.
Labowitz started her career working on the executive staff of the Fair Labor Association, a coalition of companies, universities, and civil society organizations dedicated to improving working conditions around the world. She has worked at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and Yahoo!, and with Human Rights First to help form the Global Network Initiative, a multi-stakeholder effort to protect human rights online. She joined the State Department in 2009, where she directed the leading international program to keep the Internet open in closed societies and also served in the Secretary's Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues. She joined Stern in March 2013.
Labowitz was named to Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” list for law and policy in 2012 and is an Fellow of the Truman National Security Project. She holds an MA in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, with concentrations in Corporate Social Responsibility and International Business and Economic Law, and is a 2004 graduate of Grinnell College in Grinnell, IA.