Suzanne Nossel serves as the chief executive officer of PEN America, the leading human rights and free expression organization. Since joining PEN America in 2013, Nossel has overseen a doubling of the organization’s staff and budget and groundbreaking work on free expression in Hong Kong and China, Myanmar, Eurasia and the United States.
Previously, Nossel’s career spanned government service and leadership roles in the corporate and non-profit sectors. She 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 U.N. Management and Reform at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Additionally, 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 former senior fellow at the Century Foundation, the Center for American Progress, and the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Law School.