Press Releases

Michael Posner Joins NYU Stern to Establish New Center for Business and Human Rights

New York, February 28, 2013 — New York University Stern School of Business today announced that Michael H. Posner will join its faculty in March 2013. Posner will be a professor in the School’s Business and Society Program Area and will lead an effort to establish a center for business and human rights at NYU Stern.

“At NYU Stern we categorically reject the ‘or’ and embrace the ‘and’. Profits and principle must coexist as citizens and consumers around the globe demand both. Mike is respected around the world for his distinguished 30-year career as a lawyer, advocate and policymaker,” said Peter Henry, Dean of NYU Stern. “His principled, practical approach to some of the world’s toughest human rights and foreign policy challenges will break new ground in business education with the creation of the first center at a business school to focus on human rights.”

Since 2009, Posner has served as the top U.S. diplomat on human rights as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to joining the State Department, Posner was the founder and president of Human Rights First, a non-partisan organization working to advance universal rights and American values at home and around the world.

Throughout his career, Posner has focused on the role of business and the private sector in respecting human rights. His experience across industries – from labor rights in the global supply chain, to freedom of expression in the information and communication sector, to security and human rights in the extractives industry – emphasizes that smart companies work to respect human rights not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it helps them manage risk, create markets, and meet the expectations of consumers, investors and employees.

NYU President John Sexton said, “Having Mike join the NYU and Stern faculty as a professor and leader of the first-ever center on human rights at a business school is a powerful signal of NYU’s innovative approach to higher education and commitment to meeting the challenges of the 21st century. Mike’s leadership in the area of business and human rights at Stern is an example of the distinctive value that our global network university can provide.”

“Global businesses are confronting complex human rights challenges that demand approaches that go beyond ‘corporate social responsibility’. We need rules of the road that address companies’ responsibilities to respect human rights in their own operations,” said Posner. The center on business and human rights will convene major stakeholders in the business, academic, NGO, investment and government sectors; conduct academic research; and train business students. Posner added, “The center will seek to answer the hard questions 21st century companies face: What can companies do to respect human rights? What should they do? What are the smartest companies already doing?” Posner will teach at NYU Stern in the Business and Society Program Area beginning in the fall 2013 semester.

Posner began his advocacy career in 1978 and is recognized as a pioneer in the human rights movement. 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. Before coming into government, he was 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. Posner holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of California, Boalt Hall.

Posner is joined by Sarah Labowitz, who worked closely with Posner as a policy advisor in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and the Secretary’s Office of the Cyber Coordinator at the State Department. Labowitz joins NYU Stern as a research scholar in the Business and Society Program Area and will help build and direct the center on business and human rights.

About New York University Stern School of Business
New York University Stern School of Business, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, is one of the nation’s premier management education schools and research centers. NYU Stern offers a broad portfolio of academic programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels, all of them informed and enriched by the dynamism, energy and deep resources of one of the world’s business capitals.

Joanne Hvala, 212-998-0995
Jessica Neville, 416-516-7677