The Marque The Marque
The Marque
About Services Profiles Press Contact

Michael Posner

Jerome Kohlberg Professor of Ethics & Finance, Director of the Center for Business & Human Rights

NYU Stern School of Business

New York, NY, USA

Michael Posner
Liz Pope
The Marque
Jennifer Prosek
Prosek Partners

Michael Posner’s Biography

Michael Posner is the Jerome Kohlberg Professor of Ethics and Finance at NYU’s Stern School of Business and the Director of its Center for Business and Human Rights. The Center for Business and Human Rights at the NYU Stern School of Business is the first-ever human rights center within a business school.

Previously, Michael served in the Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and prior to that he was President of Human Rights First. Earlier in his career, Michael was a lawyer with Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal. He is recognized as a leader and expert in advancing a rights-based approach to national security, challenging the practice of torture, combating discrimination, and advocating for refugee protection. He is a frequent public commentator on these issues and has testified dozens of times before the United States Congress.

Michael's philanthropic work includes serving as a Board Member of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, an appointment that highlights his extensive work as a prominent voice in support of human rights protections, in global business operations in the manufacturing supply chain, the extractives industry, and the information and communications technology sector. He helped found the Fair Labor Association, was a Founding Member of the Global Network Initiative, and has spoken widely on the issue of internet freedom. Michael spearheaded the U.S. Government's efforts to enhance the effectiveness of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and played a key role in proposing and campaigning for the first U.S. law providing for political asylum, as well as the Torture Victim Protection Act.

Michael lectured at Yale Law School, at one time teaching with former Dean Harold Koh. He was a visiting lecturer at Columbia University Law School, and is a Member of the California Bar and the Illinois Bar.

Michael’s Newsfeed

The Irish News
Former Obama aide Michael Posner warns that Troubles' amnesty could damage British-US relations

Michael PosnerFounding Executive Director & President of Human Rights First, expresses his concern on the impact the proposed amnesty proposal regarding Northern Ireland, would have on relations between the UK and the US.

Find MBA
Human Rights is Gaining Greater Prominence in MBA Programs

“Business schools are tasked with equipping the next generation of leaders with the skills they need to run thriving, innovative businesses that deliver value to society,” says NYU Stern professor Michael Posner, director of Stern’s Center for Business and Human Rights. “This will require that human rights considerations are integrated into every aspect of business education.”

View allHide

Michael’s Background

NYU Stern School of Business
Jerome Kohlberg Professor of Ethics & Finance, Director of the Center for Business & Human Rights
New York, NY, USA
New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business is one America's premier management education schools and research centers. NYU Stern offers a broad portfolio of academic programs at graduate and undergraduate levels.
Human Rights First
Founding Executive Director & President
New York, NY, USA
Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization with offices in New York and Washington, D.C. that works on a range of domestic and international human rights issues.
View allHide

Michael’s Gallery

Other Business Interests

Global Network Initiative
Founding Member
Washington, DC, USA
Global Network Initiative was launched in 2008 to address how technology companies can best respect the rights of their users. It is a multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at promoting free expression and privacy rights on the Internet.


RFK / Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Board Member
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.
Fair Labor Association
Washington, DC, USA
As a member of the White House Apparel Industry Partnership Task Force, Michael helped found the Fair Labor Association (FLA), an organization that brings together corporations, local leaders, universities, and NGOs to promote corporate accountability for working conditions in the apparel industry.


Applying Human Rights to the Business World
Podcast Interview
Jun 2020
Michael Posner, the Jerome Kohlberg Professor of Ethics and Finance at NYU’s Stern School of Business, joins the Future of Work Pioneers Podcast to discuss a range of topics related to human rights and the business sector, including the ways that global business operations can support human rights protections.


To Unite As A Nation, We Need To Begin With The Truth
Jan 2021
New York, NY, USA
To unite, Michael Posner says, the US needs to 'find the right balance between seeking meaningful accountability for past abuses and building a more inclusive democratic future.' The most important lesson we can learn from other societies that made this transition, he says, is the value of establishing the truth about past wrongdoing and gaining an acknowledgement of that truth by those in power.
Amid A Threat To Democracy, How Companies Can Rebuild Trust
Jan 2021
New York, NY, USA
Citing an Edelman survey in which 2/3 of respondents say they want corporate CEOs to work to confront significant threats, Michael Posner says business leaders need to step up to enact change at three different levels: social media platforms; technology companies like Apple and Amazon; and ethical filter to guide political giving by corporations, notably a rethinking of the power and role of PACs.
View allHide

Speaking Engagements

The First Amendment, Crisis Edition
Featured Speaker
Jan 2021
Titled the "Emergency legal briefing for journalists on social media bans, the meaning of ‘incitement’ and threats to free speech", this talk brings together three distinguished free speech experts who are versed in domestic and international aspects of incitement, social media bans, and censorship. They discuss these issues in the wake of the attack on the Capitol.
RFK Compass Investor Virtual Summit
Panel Member
Oct 2020
Michael Posner, Director, NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, took part in a Fireside Chat titled 'Corporate Purpose in 2020 with Business Roundtable' at the Fall RFK Human Rights Virtual Investor Summit. The RFK Compass program discusses new approaches to investing, enlisting the private sector’s influence in the cause of human rights, good governance, and justice.
View allHide

Bar Admissions

The State Bar of California logo The State Bar of California logo
The State Bar of California
San Francisco, CA, USA
The State Bar of California’s mission is to protect the public. It includes the primary functions of licensing, regulation & discipline of attorneys, the advancement of the ethical and competent practice of law and support for greater access to and inclusion in the legal system.
Illinois State Bar Association
Illinois City, IL, USA
The Illinois State Bar Association was founded in 1877 and is the premier legal association in the state. As a voluntary organization, the Association's primary focus is to assist Illinois lawyers in the practice of law & to promote improvements in the administration of justice.

Michael’s Education

University of Michigan
BA, History (Distinction & Honors)