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Suzanne Nossel Edit Profile

Government official

Suzanne Nossel is an American government official. She is the Chief Executive Officer of Pen American Center, the leading human rights and free expression organization.


Nossel was born on July 30, 1969 in Westchester County, New York, United States; the daughter of Hymie Louis and Renee Judith (Abt) Nossel.


Nossel received a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University in 1991. Five years later she was given a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.


Nossel began her career as deputy to the United Sates Ambassador for United Nations Management and Reform at the United States Mission to the United Nations in 1999-2001, where she was the lead negotiator in settling United States arrears to the world body. She was also the chief operating officer of Human Rights Watch where she led a major strategic planning process and strengthened the organization's global management infrastructure.

Suzanne served as a vice-president of strategy and operations for the Wall Street Journal from 2005 to 2007. In 2012, she became an executive director of Amnesty International USA. In addition, she worked as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, where she led United Statesd engagement in the United Nations and multilateral institutions, on human rights and humanitarian issues.

Suzanne spent two years in South Africa working to address political violence during that country’s transition into democracy. She has published pieces on international affairs and human rights in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Dissent, The National Interest and Foreign Affairs magazine, where she coined the term "Smart Power", the title of a 2004 article.

Also Nossel worked as a vice-president of the United States Business Development for Bertelsmann Media in 2001-2005 and earlier she was an associate in consumer and media practice at McKinsey and Company. In 2009, she held the position of a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, where she was responsible for multilateral human rights, humanitarian affairs, women’s issues, public diplomacy, press and congressional relations. Since February, 2013 she has been a chief executive director of PEN American Center.


  • Nossel has expanded PEN's American Center role on issues of surveillance and digital freedom and augmented its cultural programming, membership and support base.

    In 1997, she was awarded a Kauffman Fellowship for showing exceptional promise for a career in public interest law. Also Suzanne was honored the Special Award for the Use of Diplomacy by the United Nations Association of the national Capital Area in December 2014.


Nossel was a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, the Center for American Progress and the Council on Foreign Relations. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Tides Foundation.


Suzanne Nossel is married to David Greenberg. They have 2 children.

Hymie Louis Nossel

Renee Judith (Abt) Nossel

David Greenberg