Elisa Massimino is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Institute at the Georgetown University Law Center. She previously served at the university's Law Center as the Robert F. Drinan Chair of Human Rights. Elisa is a widely recognizable and highly regarded leader in human rights advocacy, and she previously spent 27 years with Human Rights First, serving as President & CEO
Elisa has a distinguished record of human rights advocacy. She has testified before Congress dozens of times, writes frequently for mainstream publications and specialized journals, appears regularly in major media outlets, and speaks to audiences around the country. The daughter of a nuclear submarine commander, Elisa was instrumental in building a coalition of retired generals and admirals to speak publicly against policies authorizing the torture of prisoners. Since 2008, the influential Washington newspaper The Hill has consistently named her one of the most effective public advocates in the United States.
After leaving Human Rights First, Elisa joined Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government as a Senior Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, a post she held until 2019. Prior to her work with Human Rights First, Elisa practised law with Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells). Before joining the legal profession, she was a lecturer in Philosophy. Elisa holds a law degree from the University of Michigan, a Master’s in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University, and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Trinity University where she was recently honored as a Distinguished Alumna. She is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar.
Elisa serves as a Board Member of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the McCain Institute for International Leadership and the Migration Policy Institute. She also serves on the Advisory Councils of Refugees International and National Security Action.