John Shattuck

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John Shattuck
John Shattuck CEU.jpg
John Shattuck, inauguration as Central European University President and Rector. November 2, 2009
Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
In office
June 2, 1993 – November 13, 1998
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byPatricia Diaz Dennis
Succeeded byHarold Hongju Koh
3rd United States Ambassador to the Czech Republic
In office
October 22, 1998 – December 16, 2000
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byJenonne R. Walker
Succeeded byCraig Roberts Stapleton
President and Rector of
Central European University
In office
Preceded byYehuda Elkana
Succeeded byMichael Ignatieff
Personal details
Born1943 (age 77–78)
Alma materYale University
Yale Law School

John Howard Francis Shattuck (born 1943)[1] is an international legal scholar and human rights leader. He served as the fourth President and Rector of Central European University (CEU) from August 2009 until July 31, 2016. He is a senior fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government,[2] and he joined the faculty of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in January 2017.[citation needed]


Shattuck received a BA from Yale College in 1965, an MA in 1967 from Clare College, Cambridge University, with First Class Honors in International Law, and a JD degree in 1970 from Yale Law School.[3]


His first position was National Staff Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union 1971-76; he then served from 1967 to 1984 as Executive Director of the Washington office and national staff counsel, handling a number of prominent civil rights and liberties cases, including Halperin v. Kissinger.[4]

From 1984 to 1993 he was appointed Vice President, Government, Community and Public Affairs, at Harvard University, and beginning in 1986 was also a Lecturer at Harvard Law School, and Senior Associate, Program on Science, Technology and Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government.

From 1993 to 1998, he was United States Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor under President Bill Clinton, where he played a key role in the establishment by the United Nations of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and former Yugoslavia, working closely with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In 1995, he was the first international diplomat to reach survivors of the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia, assembling evidence for the UN Security Council vote authorizing NATO intervention in Bosnia. During this tenure, he visited Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng and the Chinese government used the meeting as a pretext to arrest Wei and re-imprison him.[5]

Shattuck served as U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic from 1998 to 2000. Shattuck participated with US special envoy Richard Holbrooke in negotiating the Dayton Peace Agreement and other efforts to end the war in Bosnia.

In 2001 he became as Chief Executive Officer of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and in 2007 also Senior Fellow at Tufts University, where he taught international relations. In 2001 and 2002, the Library and Foundation delivered a widely broadcast series of public events, "Responding to Terrorism," that examined issues of international security and human rights following the September 11 attacks.[6]

He was elected to the Common Cause National Governing Board in 2003.

In August 2009 he became the fourth President and Rector of Central European University (CEU). He was also Professor of Legal Studies and International Relations, and taught an interdisciplinary course entitled "U.S. Foreign Policy, Human Rights and The Rule of Law."[7]

Under Shattuck's leadership, CEU continued to pursue to its mission to promote open societies that respect human rights and the rule of law, introducing new initiatives in that direction. Protecting academic freedom and the autonomy of the university were among Shattuck's main priorities. At his initiative, CEU launched the Frontiers of Democracy Initiative in 2014, which brings together academics and practitioners from across the globe to explore what democracy means in today's complex world.

Shattuck also oversaw the introduction of cutting-edge interdisciplinary programs and initiatives into CEU's academic program, such as cognitive science, network science, a religious studies specialization and the Humanities Initiative. CEU also embarked on a major redevelopment project of its downtown Budapest campus, with the first phase to be completed in 2016. CEU's academic excellence was recognized in recent university rankings, as CEU is constantly improving on its Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) rankings, with politics and international studies ranked as 29th in the world in 2015,[8] and also featured in Times Higher Education's Top 100.[9] CEU also secured the most European Research Council Grants among the Central-Eastern European member states’ universities in the 2007-2013 period.[10]

Following a seven-year tenure as CEU's President and Rector, Shattuck stepped down on July 31, 2016. He became President Emeritus of CEU on August 1, and moved to Boston to take up his new responsibilities as professor of practice at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and senior fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.[11]


Shattuck is the author of two books: Freedom on Fire: Human Rights Wars and America’s Response, published by Harvard University Press in 2003, about the international response to genocide and other crimes against humanity in the 1990s, that, according to WorldCat, is held in 1636 libraries[12] and the textbook Rights of Privacy, published by National Textbook Co. in 1977, and held in 515 libraries.[13] He has also written many book chapters, and more than 50 articles.


He has received honorary degrees from Kenyon College, the University of Rhode Island, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York, and the University of West Bohemia. He received the Ambassador's Award from the American Bar Association Central and East European Law Initiative, the Human Rights Award from the United Nations Association of Boston, and the Yale Law School Public Service Award. In 2007, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


  1. ^ Elfstrom, Gerard, International ethics: a reference handbook, ABC-CLIO, 1998.
  2. ^ Biography on Harvard Kennedy School website
  3. ^ Official CV stt CEU
  4. ^ "KISSINGER v. HALPERIN, 452 U.S. 713 (1981)". Justia Law. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  5. ^ "Chinese Dissident Is Back in Custody After 'New Crimes' : Rights: Wei Jingsheng's most grievous affront may have been his Feb. 27 meeting with a Clinton envoy". Los Angeles Times. 1994-04-06. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  6. ^ "Kennedy Library Presents Special Forum Series: Responding to Terrorism | JFK Library". Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  7. ^ "US Foreign Policy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law". Central European University. Archived from the original on 2 July 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015 - Politics & International Studies". Top Universities. 2015-04-22. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  9. ^ "Central European University". Times Higher Education (THE). 2019-03-25. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  10. ^ "Kiválóan szerepelünk az ERC-pályázatokon". Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  11. ^ "Michael Ignatieff Elected 5th President and Rector of CEU | Central European University". Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  12. ^ WorldCat author entry
  13. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Patricia Diaz Dennis
Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
June 2, 1993 – November 13, 1998
Succeeded by
Harold Hongju Koh
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Jenonne R. Walker
U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic
Succeeded by
Craig Roberts Stapleton