Press release

Freedom House Welcomes New Trustees

Freedom House, the nation’s leading prodemocracy organization, today welcomed five outstanding leaders to its Board of Trustees.

“This new slate of leaders brings deep, diverse experience and a wealth of fresh ideas to Freedom House,” said Secretary Michael Chertoff,  chairman of its Board of Trustees. “Their guidance will be invaluable as we work to confront innovative and increasingly aggressive autocracies, empower citizens to exercise their rights and push back against repression, and promote our core conviction that freedom flourishes in democratic countries where leaders are held accountable for their actions and the fundamental rights of all people are protected equally. After 14 years of decline in democracy worldwide, our mission of defending the rules and norms that underpin democratic governance is as urgent as ever, and we are honored that the new trustees have decided to contribute their talents and wisdom to this important cause.”

The new trustees are:

Sewell Chan, a journalist who currently serves as the editorial page editor at the Los Angeles Times. In this role, he oversees the Times’s editorial board and the Op-Ed and Sunday Opinion pages. He previously worked at the New York Times from 2004 to 2018 in a variety of reporting and editorial positions, and was deputy managing editor at the Los Angeles Times.

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), where she leads one of the country’s most important national civil rights organizations in the pursuit of equal justice for all. The Lawyers’ Committee seeks to promote fair housing and community development, economic justice, voting rights, equal educational opportunity, criminal justice, judicial diversity, and more.

Rachel Kleinfeld, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she focuses on issues of rule of law, security, and governance in post-conflict countries, fragile states, and states in transition. As the founding chief executive officer of the Truman National Security Project, she spent nearly a decade leading a movement of national security, political, and military leaders working to promote people and policies that strengthen security, stability, rights, and human dignity in America and around the world.

Vivek Paul, a businessman best known for his investments, leadership, and entrepreneurship in the tech and private equity sectors. Several of his direct reports went on to become public company CEOs. Paul cofounded the Microbiome Alliance at Stanford University and is now an Adjunct Professor at the School of Medicine at Stanford University.

Ambassador Robert Tuttle was the US ambassador to the Court of St. James’s from 2005­­ to 2009 under President George W. Bush. He is the co-managing partner of the Tuttle-Click Automotive Group and a board member at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation.

Freedom House speaks out against the main threats to democracy and empowers citizens to exercise their fundamental rights through a unique combination of analysis, advocacy, and direct support to frontline defenders of freedom, especially those working in closed authoritarian societies. Founded in 1941, Freedom House was the first American organization to champion the advancement of freedom globally. Working as an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world, Freedom House is notable for its nonpartisan character and commitment to maintaining support for its mission among members of both major US political parties. We recognize that freedom is possible only in democratic political environments where governments are accountable to their own people; the rule of law prevails; and freedoms of expression, association, and belief, are guaranteed for all.

Freedom House’s board of trustees has had many prominent members over the past seven decades. Some of them include civil rights attorney Charles Morgan, Jr.; pioneering Black labor leader and civil rights activist A. Philip Randolph; civil rights and human rights activist Bayard Rustin; diplomat and negotiator Sol Linowitz; Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan; lawyer and public servant William H. Taft IV; union leader Daniel J. Tobin; investor and author Peter Ackerman; Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins; NPR political correspondent Mara Liasson; author Bette Bao Lord, who received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights in 1998; author and political satirist P.J. O’Rourke; famed detective novelist Rex Stout; anti-Nazi journalist Dorothy Thompson; and foreign policy scholar Paul Seabury.