The Marque The Marque
The Marque
About The Marque Profiles Contact

Elisa Massimino

Robert F. Drinan, S.J., Chair in Human Rights

Georgetown University Law Center

Washington, DC, USA

Elisa Massimino
Maria Lina Marcucci
Kedrion S.p.A
Nicholas Matulovich
Credence Capital

Biography

Elisa Massimino is the Robert F. Drinan Chair of Human Rights at Georgetown University Law Center. After 27 years with Human Rights First, including serving as President & CEO, 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.

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.

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.

Elisa Massimino’s Newsfeed

Center for American Progress
A Rights-Centered Paradigm for Protecting the Forcibly Displaced

In this report, Elisa Massimino, Robert F. Drinan, S.J., Chair in Human Rights at Georgetown University Law Center, and co-author Alexandra Schmitt discuss how a human rights-focused approach to the global refugee crisis can more effectively protect displaced people. Building upon ideas put forth by The Center for American Progress and U.N. refugee agency, they provide an outline in which governments should take a more comprehensive approach to the protection of people forcibly displaced in order to safeguard human dignity and build a safer, more secure world.

Just Security
A Radically (Modest) Bureaucratic Proposal to Strengthen Democracy & Human Rights at Home and Abroad

In this report for Just Security, Elisa Massimino , Drinan Chair in Human Rights at Georgetown University Law Center, and co-author Rob Berschinski discuss the need to reform the bureaucratic structures in the federal government in order to enact significant policy changes, notably in the areas of human rights and foreign diplomacy.

 

View allHide

Elisa Massimino’s Background

Georgetown University Law Center
Robert F. Drinan, S.J., Chair in Human Rights
Jul 2018 - Present
Washington, DC, USA
The Drinan Chair was established in 2006 in honor of Professor Robert F. Drinan, S.J. Drinan was a professor at Georgetown Law from 1981 until his death in 2007, as well as a priest, scholar, lawyer, politician, activist, ethicist, and one of the nation’s leading advocates for human rights. He dedicated his life to humanitarian causes and to improving the legal profession.
Human Rights First
President & CEO
Oct 1991 - Jul 2018
Washington, DC, USA
Human Rights First is an independent advocacy and action organization that challenges America to live up to its ideals. Elisa Massimino joined Human Rights First as a staff attorney in 1991 to help establish the Washington office. From 1997 to 2008 she served as the organization’s Washington Director, becoming President & CEO in 2008.
View allHide

Elisa Massimino’s Gallery

Current Board Positions

National Security Action
Advisory Council
2019 - Present
Washington, DC, USA
National Security Action brings together and mobilizes an unparalleled network of former senior officials, policy experts, academics, and civil society leaders dedicated to a progressive vision of American global leadership.
McCain Institute
Board of Trustees
2012 - Present
Washington, DC, USA
McCain Institute at Arizona State University is guided by Senator John McCain's legacy of public service & values that have guided the McCain family for generations It is a non-partisan do-tank dedicated to advancing character-driven global leadership based on security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity, in the United States and globally.

Previous Board Positions

Foreign Policy For America
Board Member
Jan 2019 - Jun 2019
Washington, DC, USA
Foreign Policy for America is a nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, DC., that is building a diverse and active network of Americans who are committed to defending diplomacy and standing up for principled American engagement in the world.
Warren Wilson College
Board of Trustees
May 2016 - May 2019
Asheville, NC, USA
Warren Wilson College is a liberal arts college grounded in social responsibility, with strong beliefs in community and the dignity of work.

Philanthropy

RFK / Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Board Member
2008 - Present
New York, NY, USA
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, founded in 1968, is led by human rights activist and lawyer Kerry Kennedy and advocates for a more just and peaceful world. Working alongside local activists to ensure lasting positive change in governments and corporations, the RFK team includes leading attorneys, advocates, entrepreneurs and writers united by a commitment to social justice.
Refugees International
Advisory Council
2019 - Present
Washington, DC, USA
Refugees International advocates for lifesaving assistance and protection for displaced people and promotes solutions to displacement crises. They are an independent organization and do not accept any government or UN funding.

Media

Elisa Massimino Testifying on Human Trafficking
Senate Testimony
Feb 2017
Washington, DC, USA
Elisa Massimino testifies before a Senate Committee on the dangers faced by refugees from human traffickers, stating "Anyone who seeks to deprive traffickers of their ability to prey on vulnerable people cannot in good conscience slam the door on refugees."
Elisa Massimino on Leadership
2015
Washington, DC, USA
Elisa Massimino, Robert F. Drinan, S.J., Chair in Human Rights at Georgetown University Law Center and Fmr. President & CEO of Human Rights First, shares her insights on leadership and advice for the next generation of leaders.

Publications

It's Official: In Egypt, You Can Get 15 Years in Jail for a Tweet
Co-author
Aug 2020
Washington, DC, USA
Elisa Massimino and Neil Hicks, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, discuss what the recent developments in Egypt mean for the nation's human rights fight, stating, "Last week, the government crossed a dangerous new threshold in its crackdown on peaceful dissent."
"Leveraging the State Department’s Human Rights Reports To Inform U.S. Foreign Policy"
Co-author
Mar 2020
Washington, DC, USA
Elisa Massimino and co-author Alexandra Schmitt discuss the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices report released last week by the US State Department. The annual report an important guide for US foreign policy. Massimino and Schmitt analyze the stark disconnect this year’s report shows between human rights situations on the ground and the current administration’s policies around the world.

Memberships

Council on Foreign Relations
Member
Washington, DC, USA
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, non-partisan membership organization, think tank and publisher, composed of more than fifty full-time and adjunct fellows, who cover the major regions & significant issues shaping today's international agenda.

Academic Appointments

Center for American Progress
Senior Fellow, Human Rights
Jan 2020 - Present
Washington, DC, USA
The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action.
Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Senior Fellow
2018 - 2019
Cambridge, MA, USA
Since its founding in 1999, the Carr Center has developed a unique focus of expertise on the most dangerous and intractable human rights challenges of the new century, including genocide, mass atrocity, state failure, and the ethics and politics of military intervention.
View allHide

Speaking Engagements

2015 Human Rights First Award Dinner
Opening Remarks
2015
Washington, DC, USA
The 2015 Human Rights First Award Dinner honored three young Europeans from diverse faith backgrounds who are challenging the rise of antisemitism in their own communities, Jane Braden-Golay, Siavosh Derakhti, and Niddal El-Jabri. Their courageous and imaginative advocacy is inspiring solidarity and action to build a better future.

Bar Admissions

Supreme Court of the United States
Washington, DC, USA
The Supreme Court is the highest tribunal in the United States for all cases arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

Elisa Massimino’s Education

Johns Hopkins University
MA in Philosophy, cum laude
View allHide