Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is the former UN human rights chief; recognized as a leading and outspoken defender and promoter of universal human rights – awarded the Stockholm prize for human rights in 2015 and the Tulip prize in 2018. With a professional background as a practitioner – a former senior diplomat representing his country Jordan – his knowledge is steeped in the global security environment. He served as president of the UN Security Council (in January 2014) and in 2002 was elected the first president of the governing body of the International Criminal Court (ICC) — guiding the court’s growth in its first three years (9/2002-9/2005). He chaired some of the most complex legal negotiations associated with the court’s statute, in particular those relating to the elements of crimes and the crime of aggression — the “supreme international crime”. He also contributed to the international community’s efforts at countering the threat of nuclear materials being trafficked and then used maliciously by terrorists (2010-2014). And he led the UN’s efforts at eliminating sexual exploitation and abuse in UN peacekeeping (2004-2007).
He twice served as Jordan’s ambassador to the United Nations (in New York) and once as Jordan’s ambassador to the United States (2007-2010). He also represented Jordan twice before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). From 1994-1996, he was a UN civilian peacekeeper with UNPROFOR. He has degrees from Johns Hopkins and Cambridge universities and is an Honorary Fellow of Christ’s University. In 2019, he was appointed a member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working for peace, justice, and human rights, founded by Nelson Mandela. He is currently the distinguished global leader in-residence at the Perry World House, the University of Pennsylvania.