Expert

Sarah Leah Whitson

Expertise

Human Rights, Middle East, Israel-Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, GCC, Yemen, Syria

Programs

Middle East

202.279.0005

Bio

Sarah Leah Whitson is the incoming Managing Director for Research and Policy at the Quincy Institute (February 2020). Currently, she serves as executive director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division from 2004 – 2019, overseeing the work of the division in 19 countries, with staff located in 10 countries. She has led dozens of advocacy and investigative missions throughout the region, focusing on issues of armed conflict, accountability, legal reform, migrant workers, and human rights. She has published widely on human rights and foreign policy in the Middle East in international and regional media, including The New York TimesForeign PolicyThe Los Angeles Times, and CNN. She appears regularly on Al-Jazeera, BBC, NPR, and CNN. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Whitson worked in New York for Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School. Whitson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is on the boards of the Artistic Freedom Initiative and Democracy for the Arab World Now. She speaks Armenian and Arabic.