Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, Guardian of Human Rights

September 18, 2019
By Greg Rienzi | Johns Hopkins Magazine

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein smiles and laughs a lot. As someone who has witnessed the aftermath of genocide and feels the world is set on an authoritarian trajectory in which human rights are increasingly fragile, you might think he'd be more sullen.

But at nearly every step of his life, Al Hussein, A&S '87, has defied convention. He's a Muslim and supporter of LGBTQ rights. He's a career diplomat who often tramples the protocols of diplomacy. He was born into royalty—the son of Prince Ra'ad of the Hashemite House, the ruling royal family of Jordan—but he'd rather you just call him Zeid and eschew formality. He's Jordanian and married a woman from Texas, born to British parents. He found his way to the United Nations almost by accident, and then worked his way up to the highest rungs of the ladder.

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