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"From Soft Power to Hard Truths: Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy and Diplomacy" Remarks by Bennett Freeman

  • October 14, 2019
  • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • National University, Sanford Center Auditorium 11355 N. Torrey Pines Rd La Jolla, CA 92037
  • 46


Registration is closed
San Diego World Affairs Council

warmly welcomes 

Bennett Freeman  


"From Soft Power to Hard Truths:

Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy and Diplomacy" 

Monday, 14 October 2019

6-8 p.m.

Drawing on his experience as a former U.S. State Department human rights diplomat and, subsequently, as an international human rights advocate, Freeman will contend that renewing American leadership in the world means reasserting and adapting -- not redefining or abandoning -- our commitment to human rights. 

About our Speaker: Bennett Freeman  

Over the last two decades of a 37-year career, Bennett Freeman has worked at the intersection of governments, international institutions, multinational corporations, responsible investors, and NGOs, to promote human rights and sustainable development around the world. An innovative leader in the fields of business and human rights, natural resource governance, and responsible investment, Freeman has helped develop multi-stakeholder initiatives and global standards that have strengthened corporate responsibility in industries ranging from extractives to information and communications technology.

Freeman authored the Shared Space Under Pressure: Business Support for Civic Freedoms and Human Rights Defenders for the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre and International Service for Human Rights. Launched in September 2018 and endorsed by the American Bar Association in August 2019, the report provides analytical and operational guidance for companies. 

As Principal of Bennett Freeman Associations LLC and as a Senior Advisor to Business and Human Rights Resource (BSR) and Critical Resource, Freeman advises multinational corporations, foundations, and NGOs on international human rights and labor rights. He is Chair of the Advisory Board of Global Witness; co-founder and Board Secretary of the Global Network Initiative; Chair of the Advisory Board of the Responsible Sourcing Network and serves on the Governing Board of the Natural Resources Governance Institute. Additionally, he co-founded and serves on the Board of Advisors of the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark. Furthermore, he previously served on the Board of Oxfam America (OA) from 2002-2010; the Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) representing Oxfam from 2006-2009; and as a founding trustee and member of the International Advisory Board of the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) from 2009-2015. 

Freeman served as a Clinton presidential appointee in three positions at the U.S. Department of State: as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from 1999- 2001; Senior Advisor to Under Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Stuart Eizenstat from 1997-1999; and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and chief speechwriter for Secretary of State Warren Christopher from 1993-1997. He was Manager-Corporate Affairs for GE from 1985 to 1993 after beginning his career as a speechwriter and presidential campaign aide to former Vice President Walter Mondale from 1982-84.  

Freeman earned an BA in History from the University of California at Berkeley in 1979 and a BA/MA in Modern History from the University of Oxford, where he studied as an English-speaking Union Churchill Scholar at Balliol College from 1978-1981.

Monday, 14 October 2019


National University, Sanford Center Auditorium

11355 N. Torrey Pines Rd.

La Jolla, CA 92037 

Complimentary parking on the National University campus

Help us grow - bring a friend(s)!


Registration/Reception: 6:00-6:30 p.m.

Presentation, followed by a Q&A: 6:30-8:00 p.m.


SDWAC Members: Free  

Non-Members: $10  

Student with student ID: $5  

*Please note that the viewpoints expressed by speakers at SDWAC events are their own, and do not necessarily represent those of SDWAC. As a nonpartisan organization, SDWAC seeks to engage speakers who, together, represent a variety of viewpoints across the political spectrum in order to contribute to informed policy discussion and a meaningful exchange of ideas within the San Diego community. 

SDWAC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization - your donations support SDWAC's ability to provide top-notch international programming.

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Mailing Address

San Diego World Affairs Council (SDWAC)

PO Box 34010

San Diego, CA 92163


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