Julie Mertus

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Professor Julie Mertus "is an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the MA program in Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs at American University. During academic year 2006-2007, she is a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Denmark where she is working with the Danish Institute of Human Rights. A graduate of Yale Law School, her work focuses on human rights, U.S. foreign policy, refugee and humanitarian law and policy, gender and conflict and post-war transitions. Her geographic expertise is in Central and Eastern Europe, with a specialty on the former Yugoslavia, but she has also participated in human rights projects in such diverse places as Vietnam, Brazil, China, Jordan and South Africa. Her prior appointments include: Senior Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace; Human Rights Fellow, Harvard Law School; Writing Fellow, MacArthur Foundation, Fulbright Fellow (Romania), and Counsel, Human Rights Watch.

"As a scholar, Professor Mertus has published widely. Her book Bait and Switch: Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2004) was named "human rights book of the year" by the American Political Science Association Human Rights Section. Her other books include: Human Rights and Conflict (United States Institute of Peace, 2006)(editor, with Jeffrey Helsing);The United Nations and Human Rights (Routledge, 2005); Kosovo: How Myths and Truths Started a War (U. Cal. Press 1999), War's Offensive Against Women: The Humanitarian Challenge in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan (Kumarian, 2000); The Suitcase: Refugees' Voices from Bosnia and Croatia (U. Cal. Press, 1999); and Local Action/Global Change (UNIFEM 1999)(with Mallika Dutt and Nancy Flowers). Her work has also appeared in leading multi disciplinary journals such as: Ethics and International Affairs, Global Governance, International Studies Perspectives, International Feminist Journal of Politics and The Harvard International Review.

"As a practitioner, Professor Mertus has nearly twenty years experience in the human rights field, as a field researcher, lawyer, advocate, political analyst and trainer. At the international level, she has conducted human rights trainings with NGOs, political leaders, school teachers and student activists in over a dozen countries. She has also served as a consultant on human rights and humanitarian issues to UNHCR, the Humanitarianism and War Project, the Watson Institute for International Affairs, Women Waging Peace, OXFAM, the Soros Foundation, and many other nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations. She has also appeared as an expert witness in asylum proceedings and has offered expert commentary on CNN, NPR, and Voice of America, and in such newspapers as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun and The International Herald Tribune...

Professional Practice (Selected)

  • Chemonics International 2004-present, Human rights education consultant; Conducted workshops and trainings and authored educational materials.
  • U.S. State Department/ Drexel University 8/03-6/04, Consultant, Conducted audit of political science project in Albania.
  • OXFAM USA 6/00-8/00, Kosovo Specialist; reviewed and assessed potential and ongoing OXFAM operations in Kosovo.
  • Human Rights Institute, UN World Conference on Women, Beijing, China 8/95, Leader in ten day international workshop and training on women’s human rights law.
  • Newport Institute and Harvard Center for Policy Negotiation, Cambridge, MA 8/94, Conducted field research in Hungary and authored study on Roma youth (with Scott Long).
  • Human Rights Watch, Helsinki Watch, New York, NY 6/93 - 7/94, Counsel Documented and analyzed war crimes and other human rights abuses in the former Yugoslavia; drafted evidentiary and procedural rules for proposed international war crimes tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia; authored reports on human rights abuses in ex-Yugoslavia; acted as Counsel for Human Rights Watch amicus brief for Karadzic case; extensive public speaking.

The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, New York, NY 9/92 - 5/93, Conducted fact-finding mission to Croatia to review adoption, abortion and citizenship laws; co-authored Meeting the Health Care Needs of Women Survivors of the Balkan Conflict; amicus brief before Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court.

Awards Outside of American University (Selected)


Resources and articles


  1. Julie Mertus, American University, accessed July 8, 2007.