Shift appoints former UN Human Rights Chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein as the new Chair of its Board of Trustees

New York, NY

Shift, the leading center of expertise on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, is pleased to announce the appointment of HRH Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein as the new Chair of its Board of Trustees.

Prince Zeid has a longstanding and globally renowned trajectory of leadership and commitment to advancing respect for human rights. He served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2014-2018, as well as Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador to the US, and as the first president of the governing body of the International Criminal Court (ICC), among other leadership roles.   

He is currently the CEO and President of the International Peace Institute and the Perry World House Professor of Practice of Law and Human Rights at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. He is also a member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working together for peace, justice and human rights, first established by Nelson Mandela in 2007. He has been recognized globally as a leading defender of universal human rights, receiving the Stockholm Human Rights Award, the Netherlands’ Human Rights Tulip prize, and Foreign Policy magazine named him 2018 Diplomat of the Year.

Prince Zeid succeeds Shift’s late founding Chair, Professor John Ruggie, author of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Prince Zeid was High Commissioner for Human Rights at the time the Guiding Principles were endorsed by the UN in 2011. On taking up the role of Shift’s Chair, Prince Zeid said:  

The unanimous endorsement of the Guiding Principles in 2011 represented a watershed moment in changing the understanding of companies’ responsibility for the negative impacts that business activities can have on people. For a decade now, Shift has worked relentlessly to embed the ethos of the UNGPs in the way business gets done, with the focus where it must always be – on delivering better outcomes for the most vulnerable workers and communities. I am delighted to take up the role of Chair of Shift’s Trustees at a time when we see so much growth in the appetite and need for the organization’s work and leadership, not least as regulators, legislators, investors and financiers become more attuned to their own roles in incentivizing rights-respecting business practices, including as an essential component of a Just Transition to carbon neutral economies. I look forward to working with the Board and the management team to seize these growing opportunities to deliver on the promise of the UN Guiding Principles.”

Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein Chair of Shift

For the past three years, Shift has worked closely with Prince Zeid in strategic partnerships to advise global sports bodies––including the International Olympic Committee and the Féderation Internationale de l’Automobile ––on their responsibility to respect human rights under the UN Guiding Principles.

Shift’s President and Co-Founder, Caroline Rees, said:

“We could not be more thrilled to welcome Prince Zeid to the Shift Board. This is an exciting time for Shift as we start upon our second decade of work, taking forward the tremendous legacy of our founding Chair, John Ruggie.  It is a time of burgeoning developments in the field of social sustainability, with growing legislation, reporting standards, investor engagement and business leadership now rightly focused on companies’ responsibility to respect human rights. It is therefore a particular privilege and delight for all of us in the Shift team that we get to embark on this new era with Zeid’s wise stewardship at the helm of our Board. His extraordinary international experience, professional achievements and personal authority and commitment in advancing human rights will bring fresh insights, ideas, opportunities and energy to our mission.”

Caroline Rees President and Co-Founder of Shift


Shift is a non-profit, mission-driven organization, working across all continents and sectors to challenge assumptions, push boundaries and redefine corporate practice in order to build a world where business gets done with respect for people’s dignity. Shift is headquartered in New York City. To learn more, visit

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