Harvard comes to its senses: rescinds decision on Roth

January 20, 2023
Roth poses after an interview with Reuters in Geneva
Picture January 12, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Following the shocking decision not to award a fellowship to Kenneth Roth, the former head of Human Rights Watch (HRW), [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2023/01/10/pro-israel-lobby-in-usa-seems-to-control-harvards-human-rights-centre/], the Kennedy School at Harvard University said on 19 January that it has reversed its decision.

In the case of Mr. Roth, I now believe that I made an error in my decision not to appoint him as a Fellow at our Carr Center for Human Rights… We will extend an offer to Mr. Roth to serve as a Fellow. I hope that our community will be able to benefit from his deep experience in a wide range of human rights issues,” Elmendorf said.

The decision not to award a fellowship to Roth, first reported by The Nation, drew criticism from some alumni, the American Civil Liberties Union and HRW itself. Freedom of expression advocacy group PEN America said the decision “raises serious questions about the credibility of the Harvard program itself.”

Roth in a statement posted on Twitter on Thursday said he was “thrilled” that Elmendorf had rescinded his decision.


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