William F. Schulz
Executive Director of Amnesty International USA
The New York Times Book Review in 2002 said, "William Schulz, the director of Amnesty International USA, has done more than anyone in the American human rights movement to make human rights issues known in the United States."
William F. Schulz, D.Min., was appointed executive director of Amnesty International USA in March 1994 and will be leaving his position this spring. An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, he came to Amnesty after serving for 15 years with the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA), the last eight (1985 to 1993) as president.
As president of the UUA, Schulz was involved in a wide variety of international and social justice causes. He led the first visit by a U. S. member of Congress to post-revolutionary Romania in January 1991, two weeks after the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu. That delegation was instrumental in the subsequent improvement in the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in Romania.
Schulz spent February 1992, in India in consultation with the Holdeen India Fund, a fund dedicated to ending communal violence and to the political and economic empowerment of women, bonded laborers and others. He led fact-finding missions to the Middle East and Northern Ireland and was instrumental in his denomination's opposition to U. S. military aid to El Salvador.
In 1997, Schulz led an Amnesty mission to Liberia to investigate atrocities committed during the civil war there, and in 1999 returned to Northern Ireland with Amnesty to insist that human rights protections be incorporated into the peace process. In September 2004, Schulz participated in an Amnesty mission to Darfur, Sudan, to help redress the humanitarian crisis in that region. During his years with Amnesty he has traveled extensively, both in the United States and abroad, including a 2004 trip to Cuba under the sponsorship of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
From 1985 to 1993, he served on the Council of the International Association for Religious Freedom, the oldest international interfaith organization in the world. Throughout his career he has been outspoken in his opposition to the death penalty and his support for women's rights, gay and lesbian rights and racial justice, having organized, participated in demonstrations and written extensively on behalf of all four causes.
He has appeared frequently on radio and television, including "60 Minutes," "20/20," "The Today Show," "Good Morning, America," "All Things Considered," "Talk of the Nation," "ABC World News," "Larry King Live," "Nightline," "Politically Incorrect," and on the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News and Bloomberg News. He has published and is quoted widely in newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Christian
Science Monitor, New York Review of Books, The Nation, The National Interest and Parade, and is the author of several books, including In Our Own Best Interests: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All and Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights.
Schulz has delivered lectures at the Yale Political Union, Oxford University, McGill, Columbia, Penn, Northwestern and many others and taught a seminar on the role of religion in international social and political conflict at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government (Institute of Politics) in the fall of 1993. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
He has received the Public Service Citation from the University of Chicago, the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Oberlin College Alumni Association, been included in Vanity Fair's 2002 Hall of Fame of World Nongovernmental Organization Leaders and been honored with the Human Rights Award from Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, the Harry S. Truman Award for International Leadership from the Kansas City, Mo., United Nations Association, the Cranbrook Peace Award from the Cranbrook Peace Foundation and the Humanitarian Award from Marylhurst University in Portland, Ore., among others. In 2000, he was named "Humanist of the Year" by the American Humanist Association.
Schulz is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Oberlin College, holds a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Meadville/Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago.
He is married to the Rev. Beth Graham, also a Unitarian Universalist minister, and they live on Long Island where Rev. Graham serves a congregation. Schulz has two grown children from a previous marriage.
Updated on 3/9/2006