H.R.H. Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein is an accomplished diplomat and member of The Elders, a group of prominent global leaders formed by Nelson Mandela that works jointly for peace, justice, and human rights. From September of 2014 until August of 2018, he served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, representing the first individual from Asia and the first Muslim to hold the position. Currently, Prince Zeid is the Perry World House Professor of Practice of Law and Human Rights at the University of Pennsylvania’s Carey Law School.
Before his nomination as High Commissioner, Prince Zeid was Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, a post he held between September of 2010 and July of 2014 and previously from 2000 to 2007. In January of 2014, Prince Zeid assumed the presidency of the UN Security Council and held the chair of the Security Council’s 1533 and 1521 committees with regard to two sanctions regimes: the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Liberia.
Among his many prestigious appointments, he served as Jordan’s Ambassador to the United States from 2007 to 2010 and as the Deputy Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations from 1996 to 2000. From September of 2010 until March of 2012, Prince Zeid was the Chairman of the Country-Specific Configuration of the UN Peace Building Commission for Liberia and, in June of 2010, served as the Chairman of the Working Group on the Crime of Aggression at the Review Conference of the Rome Statute in Kampala. Prince Zeid also held the first Presidency of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court from 2002 to 2005.
Prince Zeid holds a B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University (Christ’s College). In April of 2008, he delivered the Grotius Lecture at the 102nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law entitled, “For Love of Country and International Criminal Law.” In January of 2013, he delivered the Distinguished Lecture in International Justice at Brandeis University titled, “Beyond Nuremburg: The Future of International Criminal Justice.”
Reflecting on his personal call to action to prevent genocide, Prince Zeid recalled:
“Twenty years ago, I was a junior UN official in the former Yugoslavia and witnessed the consequences of military conflict and acts of genocide up close. That sort of experience changes every individual so exposed, for the rest of their lives. For me, I felt I had to do whatever I could, however small or big, once the war there came to a close, to end this form of mass killing permanently.”
For Prince Zeid, ending genocide is possible “through a global adherence to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and a strengthened, more global, human rights education.”