Matthew Daniels

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Matthew Daniels
BornNew York City
OccupationWriter, academic, producer
Alma materDartmouth College, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Brandeis University

Matthew Daniels is an American academic and writer on human rights. He teaches at the Institute of World Politics where he is the Chair of Law and Human Rights and Founder of the Center for Human Rights and International Affairs.[1] In 2020, Daniels co-founded Games for Good "a three-way partnership between purpose-driven corporations, leading NGOs tackling the most pressing social issues, and a community of gamers motivated to help themselves and to change the world."[2]


Daniels attended inner-city public schools in the New York City area before receiving a scholarship to Dartmouth College. He went on to obtain a Juris Doctor degree and a Master's in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. He was subsequently awarded a doctoral fellowship in American politics to study judicial policymaking and the rule of law at Brandeis University.[3] His 2003 thesis was titled, "A Case Study of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act"[4]


In 2008, Daniels launched an online video portal, Great Americans which showcased videos about the lives of American first responders and military members. The videos have garnered 2.5m views.[5] Daniels earned a grant from the Templeton Foundation to found Good of All – a Washington, D.C. based non-profit organization educating the public about human rights in the digital age.[6] In 2018, Good of All began the MLK Universal Rights Scholarship program awarded to five students of historically black colleges every year: Clark Atlanta University, Morgan State University, Morehouse College, and Paine College.[7]

MLK Universal Rights Scholarship Launch at Clark Atlanta University.

With Yonsei University's Graduate School of International Studies, Daniels developed Human Liberty, a non-profit that produced educational videos documenting the suffering of North Korean refugees and labor camp survivors. In December 2019, a study performed at the University of Nottingham verified the impact of these kinds of videos as "knowledge and interest in human rights increased immediately after viewing the videos."[8] The organization partnered with the law firm Hogan Lovells to prepare a 96-page legal opinion pertaining to North Korean crimes against humanity[9] and genocide.[10]

Daniels' first book was released in June 2019: "Human Liberty 2.0" covers those who have changed the world using social media to advance the cause of human rights and dignity. The book has a foreword by Admiral James G. Stavridis and was distributed by Simon and Schuster.[11]

Daniels is the creator and producer of The Human Rights Network (HRN), a global academic network that promotes human rights education through digital media. In 2020, HRN launched the Universal Rights Academy which offers free online courseware on human rights topics to "teach digital natives around the world the timeless ideals that are the only enduring remedy for ideologies of oppression."[12]

In 2020, Daniels, working with Howard University's associate provost and assistant vice president of enrollment management Anthony Jones, launched the MLK Educational Initiative, secondary school curricula designed “to teach Dr. Martin Luther King’s non-violent social justice principles to a new generation.“

“The only method to bring about enduring justice and enduring prosperity for all communities is through non-violent social change. If we were giving young people drivers licenses and not teaching them how to drive we’d have a lot of carnage on America’s highways and roadways. And we’re expecting them to become citizens of a democracy without teaching them that fundamental truth that Dr. King modeled for all of us.” [13]

The digital-native focused content was piloted in Tennessee[14] and was first rolled out at Little Rock Central High School and expanded to Texas.[15]

In 2021, Daniels was a founding member of Games For Good, which works "with studios and their talented teams to modify games we love with storylines that educate." Their first mod, Grand Theft Democracy focused on Russian disinformation.[16] The second mod, Grand Theft Auto: The Saudi Version "allows players to play the role of a woman in Saudi Arabia who has newly been granted the right to drive. However, due to the Saudi system, she cannot exercise a range of basic freedoms without male permission – including travel, employment and access to healthcare."[17]

In 2022, Daniels co-wrote an article with Ms. Naheed Esar, Afghanistan's former Deputy Foreign Minister, reminding the world that MLKs legacy extends to all people of all cultures:

In our era, Dr. King’s universal message of the value and dignity of all human beings has much broader application in our increasingly global culture. His demand that Blacks be treated with the dignity and respect demanded by their humanity applies no less to Afghans. That includes Afghan women, Afghan ethnic and religious minorities, and all Afghans who cannot accept the Taliban's regime of religious, political, and legal oppression.[18]


  1. ^ "Matthew Daniels to Hold New Chair of Law and Human Rights at IWP". Institute of World Politics. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  2. ^ "Games for Good". Retrieved December 21, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Matthew Daniels". University of Central Florida. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  4. ^ Daniels, Matthew (2003). A Case Study of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Brandeis University.
  5. ^ "Great Americans Youtube Channel". GreatAmericansDotCom. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  6. ^ "Matthew Daniels". Brunel Law School. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  7. ^ "MLK Universal Rights Scholarship Announcement". GoodofAll. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  8. ^ "Unbias". Unbias. EPSRC.
  9. ^ Stanek, Becca. "Report Says a Genocide May Be Happening in North Korea Right Now". Time.
  10. ^ Cheng, Jonathan. "As World Attention Fades, A Fresh Call for North Korea "Genocide" Label". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  11. ^ "Human Liberty 2.0". Simon and Schuster. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  12. ^ "Universal Rights Academy". Universal Rights (in American English). Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  13. ^ Dortch, Derrick. "PodcastOne: Fed Access". Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  14. ^ Daniels, Anthony Jones and Matthew. "Why we must teach Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s principles to a new generation | Opinion". Knoxville News Sentinel (in American English). Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  15. ^ Daniels, Anthony Jones and Matthew. "A divided america needs Dr. King's unifying social justice principles". USA TODAY (in American English). Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  16. ^ "Grand Theft Democracy (Demo) - YouTube". Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  17. ^ Author, Guest. "Gaming and the greater good". Retrieved September 14, 2021. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  18. ^ Esar, Naheed (January 17, 2022). "Why Afghanistan should matter to us all". TheHill. Retrieved January 17, 2022.