John Shattuck

John Shattuck

Goddard 404
160 Packard Avenue, Medford, MA 02155


  • J.D., Yale Law School
  • M.A., Mellon Fellowship, Clare College, Cambridge University
  • B.A., Yale College


Professor Shattuck is an international legal scholar, diplomat, human rights leader and former university president. He began his career as a law clerk in New York in the early 1970s before teaching as a visiting lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School of Politics at Princeton University. From teaching, he went on to be National Staff Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, where he worked on more than two dozen federal court cases at trial and appellate levels, including Halperin v. Kissinger, a successful challenge to the warrantless wiretapping program conducted by the Nixon White House. He was appointed director of the ACLU Washington office in the late 1970s, difrecting lobbying on national civil liberties and civil rights issues with the U.S. Congress and executive branch agencies during the Carter and Reagan administrations.

In 1986, he returned to academia at Harvard University as vice president for government, community and public affairs, responsible for Harvard’s relations with government agencies, private institutions and the media. He was also lecturer at the Harvard Law School, teaching courses on legislative process, privacy, human rights and civil liberties; and senior associate in the Program on Science, Technology and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government. In 1993 Shattuck was nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor.

In the early post-Cold War years, he was responsible for coordinating and implementing U.S. efforts to promote human rights, democracy and international labor rights. He was the first U.S. official to reach and interview survivors of the genocide at Srebrenica; he helped negotiate the Dayton peace agreement that ended the war in Bosnia; and he was instrumental in the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. In 1997, President Clinton nominated him to be U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, where he served from 1998-2000, directing U.S. relations with a Central European ally and new NATO member and overseeing a 250-person embassy staff.

Shattuck returned to the U.S. as CEO of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation from 2001-2009. At the Foundation, he expanded and created worldwide internet access to Kennedy Library programs on terrorism and international relations, digitized presidential documents and audiovisual records, and more than doubled the Foundation’s endowment. During this time, Shattuck was also lecturer and senior fellow at Tufts University (2007-2009), where he taught honors-level courses on international relations, human rights and U.S. foreign policy, in addition to serving on the Advisory Board for the Institute for Global Leadership.

In August 2009, he became the fourth president and rector of Central European University (CEU), an international graduate institution in Budapest, Hungary. Under his leadership, CEU expanded its campus, created a new school of public policy, launched programs on network science and cognitive science, greatly increased the university’s external research support, hosted a series of high-profile international conferences on the crisis of democracy in Europe and the U.S., and strengthened partnerships with other international universities in Europe, the U.S., Turkey, India and China. Upon his retirement as president, CEU renamed in his honor a research center he had established as the Shattuck Center on Conflict, Negotiation and Recovery.

Professor Shattuck has received four honorary degrees and numerous international awards including the Yale Law School Public Service Award, the Ambassador’s Award of the American Bar Association Central and East European Law Initiative, and the John Gardner Public Service Award of Common Cause of Massachusetts. He has published over a dozen books and book chapters and more than fifty articles on U.S. foreign policy, human rights, civil liberties and higher education, and has written for publications such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe and The Harvard Human Rights Journal. He chairs the Advisory Board of the Center on Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Areas of expertise

History & Diplomacy
Human Rights
Humanitarian Affairs
International Law & Organizations
International Security
Negotiations & Conflict Resolution
Political Development

Courses taught

Selected Publications and Presentations


"How Resilient is Democracy in the US?" Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, February 2018

"How Democracy in America Can Survive Donald Trump," The American Prospect, February 2018

"Democracy and Its Discontents", Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Summer 2016.

"Liberty and Security," Book Review, The Wilson Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 1, Winter 2006.

"The Legacy of Nuremberg: Confronting Genocide and Terrorism through the Rule of Law," Gonzaga Journal of International Law, Vol. 10, No. 1, 2006/2007.

"The Collective International Responsibility to Protect: The Case of Rwanda," Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights Law, Vol. 4, Issue 1, pp. 105-117 (2005)

"Religion, Rights, and Terrorism," 16 Harvard Human Rights Journal 183 (Spring 2003).

"Confronting the Abuses of Human Rights," 53 Nieman Reports 5 (Summer 1999).

"From Nuremberg to Dayton and Beyond: The Struggle for Peace with Justice in Bosnia," 3 Hofstra Law and Policy Symposium 27 (1999).

"Preventing Genocide: Justice and Conflict Resolution in the Post-Cold War World," 3 Hofstra Law and Policy Symposium 15 (1999).

"Defending Democracy," Foreign Affairs (March-April 1998).

"Promoting the Rule of Law in the Post-Cold War World," IV National Security Studies Quarterly 79 (Spring 1998).

"Human Rights and Domestic Law After the Cold War," Emory International Law Review (Fall, 1995).

"In the Shadow of 1984: National Identification Systems, Computer-Matching and Privacy in the United States," 35 Hastings Law Journal (University of California July 1984).

Government Secrecy on Campus, Rochester Institute of Technology (1991).

"Right to Know: Public Access to Information in the 1980s," 5 Government Information Quarterly 369 (1988).

"The Dangers of Government Information Control," with Muriel Morisey Spence, Technology Review (April 1988).

"Secrecy and Freedom of Communications in American Science" XXII Minerva 421 (1985).

"National Security a Decade After Watergate," Democracy (1983).

"Courtstripping: A New Way to Amend the Constitution?" Judges' Journal (Winter 1982).

"Civil Liberties and Criminal Code Reform, 72 Journal of Law and Criminology 914 (1981).

"Crime Control and Civil Liberties," Journal of Criminal Law (December 1980).

Foreign Intelligence: Legal and Democratic Controls, American Enterprise Institute (1980).

"Limits On National Security Intelligence in a Free Society," Law, Intelligence and National Security (American Bar Association, December 1979).

"The Carter Administration and Civil Liberties," Civil Liberties Review (January 1978).

"The United States and International Human Rights," International Human Rights: Law and Practice (American Bar Association 1978).

"The Second Deposing of Richard Nixon," Civil Liberties Review (July 1976).

"National Security Wiretaps," Criminal Law Bulletin (January 1975).

"The Political Quagmire: War and Peace in the Second Circuit," Brooklyn Law Review (Spring 1974).

"Tilting at the Surveillance Apparatus," Civil Liberties Review (Summer 1974).

"U.S. v. Nixon: A Dissenting View," Juris Doctor (September 1974).

Co-author with N. Dorsen, "Executive Privilege, the Congress and the Courts," Ohio State Law Journal (March 1974).


Freedom on Fire: Human Rights Wars and America's Response (Harvard University Press 2003, paperback edition 2005).

Co-author with C.H. Pyle, Privacy: Cases, Materials and Questions (1988).

Co-author with M. Lynch, M. Halperin, Litigation under the Freedom of Information Act (Center for National Security Studies 1977).


"The European Crisis and the United States" in Free Market in Its Twenties, Edited by Mel Horwitch and Maciej Kisilowski. (Central European University) (2014)

"Foreword," to Rostas, ed., Ten Years After: A History of Roma School Desegregation in Central and Eastern Europe. (CEU Press, 2012).

"National Security and the Rule of Law," in Schultz, ed., The Future of Human Rights (University of Pennsylvania Press 2008).

"Human Rights and the International Criminal Court," in O'Malley, Atwood, and Peterson, eds., Sticks and Stones: Living with Uncertain Wars (University of Massachusetts Press 2006).

"Diplomacy With A Cause: Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy," in Allison and Powers, eds., Human Rights: What Works (Harvard University Press 2000).

"Federal Restrictions on the Free Flow of Academic Information and Ideas," in Curry, ed., Freedom at Risk (Temple 1988).

"Human Rights and Humanitarian Crises: Policy-Making and the Media," in Rotberg, ed., From Massacres to Genocide: Public Policy and Humanitarian Crises (MIT Press 1996).

Editor and Introduction, Civil and Political Rights in the United States, U.S. Department of State (1994).

Editor and Introduction, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, U.S. Department of State (1993-98).

"Politics and the Governmental Process," in Friedman, ed., Watergate and Afterward (Hofstra University Press 1992).

"National Security Information Controls in the United States: Implications for International Academic Science and Technology," in Zinberg, ed., The Changing University (Kluwer 1991).

"Executive Privilege," in Dorsen and Gillers, eds., Government Secrecy (Viking 1975).


"Glasnost and The First Amendment: Freedom of Political Convictions," Moscow Conference on Law and Economic Cooperation (American Bar Association 1990).


"Containing Putin," Boston Globe, March 2, 2015.

"Lift Europe's Historical Amnesia," Boston Globe, September 9, 2015.

"Terrorists and the Refugee Battleground," Project Syndicate, December 1, 2015.

"Ukraine's Sovereignty has to be Respected," Radio Free Europe, April 1, 2014.

"European integration must not be reversed," Kulturaliberalna, August 27, 2013.

"War crimes whitewash," Boston Globe, June 7, 2013.

"In Syria, use diplomacy backed by force: Column," USA Today, September 12, 2013.

"Open Minds, Open Societies," Boston Globe, January 18, 2012.

"The US needs to reengage with Europe," Boston Globe, December 9, 2012.

"Justice in the arrest of Mladic," Boston Globe. May 28, 2011.

"By Admitting Its Human Rights Problems, the US Helps Other Countries Admit Theirs," Christian Science Monitor, November 16, 2010.

"Justice in Bosnia," with Justice Richard Goldstone, Boston Globe, November 30, 2010.

"Rooted in Excellence," Financial Times, December 5, 2010.

"Healing Our Self-Inflicted Wounds," The American Prospect, January/February 2008.

"No More: The U.S. Must End Its Policy on Torture," Washington Monthly, January/February 2008.

"Reviving the Search for Middle East Peace," Boston Globe, January 27, 2007.

"Self-Inflicted Wounds," Washington Post, November 6, 2007.

"In Search of Political Courage," Boston Globe, May 20, 2006.

"Professionalism vs. Patriotism," Boston Globe, October 9, 2006.

"Democracy's Hero in Ukraine," Boston Globe, April 5, 2005.

"On Abu Ghraib: One Sergeant's Courage A Model for US Leaders," Christian Science Monitor, May 16, 2005.

"A Lawless State," The American Prospect, October 2004.

"A Look at the Armenian Genocide," Book Review, Boston Globe, February 4, 2004.

"Close Relationship to U.S. Did Not Help Liberia Much," TV Review, New York Times, August 7, 2004.

"The Anxiety of Two Who See Democracy in Peril," Book Review, New York Times, August 9, 2004.

"U.S. Can Help End the Genocide in Darfur," Boston Globe, July 15, 2004.

"A Chance for Peace in Congo," Washington Post, September 10, 2003.

"Deep Crisis, Shallow Roots," Book Review, New York Times, August 30, 2003.

"In Iraq, U.S. Ignores Human Rights Lessons," Boston Globe, November 5, 2003.

"Human Rights in an Age of Terrorism," Boston Globe, November 24, 2002.

"How Do We Defend An Open Society?" Boston Globe, September 23, 2001.

"Human Rights are for Everyone," Boston Globe, May 5, 2001.

"Human Rights at Home," New York Times, December 25, 2001.

"Renewing the Call to Public Service," Boston Globe, March 10, 2001.

"The Trap Was Set, And Milosevic Fell In," Boston Globe, July 11, 2001.

"Promoting Stability in Southeast Europe," Lidove Noviny, January 4, 2000.

"Crimes Against Humanity in the Heart of Europe," Prague Post, April 14, 1999.

"The Worst Humanitarian Crisis in Europe Since the Second World War," Pravo, April 3, 1999.

"High Noon in Kosovo," Financial Times, October 1, 1998.