Board of Directors
Nury A. Turkel is an attorney, foreign policy expert, and rights advocate with two decades of experience at the intersection of law, business, government, and human rights. As an attorney, he specializes in corporate governance and regulatory compliance, national security, foreign policy, digital authoritarianism, and forced labor and supply chain risk issues. He is the author of No Escape: The True Story of China’s Genocide of the Uyghurs.
Mr. Turkel serves on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (Chair 2022-2023, Vice Chair 2021-2022), following appointment by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in May 2020. He has testified before the US Congress, speaking about Uyghur internment camps and advocating a legislative response to China’s atrocities. His policy recommendations have been incorporated into US laws and pending bills relating to Uyghurs and China. As a rights advocate, he has led efforts to raise the profile of the Uyghur cause, previously as president of the Uyghur American Association and, since 2016, as Board Chair of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, which he co-founded in 2003. He has also advised past and present leadership of the World Uyghur Congress.
Mr. Turkel is also a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, focussing on US foreign policy and national security issues, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His policy-oriented essays have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Wall Street Journal, New York Times Foreign Policy, TIME, Newsweek, USA Today, and other outlets. He has provided commentary on CNN, BBC, Radio Free Asia, Fox News, PBS, NPR, Al Jazeera, and France 24, among others. In 2020, he was listed in TIME Magazine 100 Most Influential People in the World, and in 2021, one of Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders. In 2021, he received the inaugural Notre Dame Prize for Religious Liberty and, in 2022, the Global Soul Award from Jewish World Watch. Mr. Turkel holds a J.D. and an M.A. in International Relations from American University and is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia.
Justin Jon Rudelson
Dr. Justin Jon Rudelson has been engaged in Uyghur human rights work since 1984. In addition to serving on the UHRP Board of Directors since 2016, he serves on the Advisory Board of the Jewish Movement for Uyghur Freedom. He has served as Professor and Lecturer in the Departments of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University, Tulane University, and Dartmouth College, and directed specialized studies programs at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, University of Maryland Institute for Global Chinese Affairs, and Akiva Yavneh Academy of Dallas. Dr. Rudelson is the author of "Oasis Identities: Uyghur Nationalism Along China's Silk Road" (1997) and other academic publications. Concurrent with fieldwork in East Turkistan and Central Asia, he assisted in organizing a pioneering international conference on desert development with Uyghur experts and carried out three photo-journalism assignments for National Geographic Magazine. Rudelson received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Harvard University, and his B.A. in Asian Studies from Dartmouth College.
Mr. Samet Awut is a member of the Uyghur American community who has been active over many years supporting fundamental rights and freedoms for the Uyghur people. He is a former lecturer in the Mathematics Department of a leading university in the Uyghur homeland. After leaving the Uyghur homeland, Mr. Awut pursued further studies in Germany before moving to the U.S. He has served on the Uyghur American Association elections committee, as an elected officer of the Executive Committee of the World Uyghur Congress, and has served since 2016 as a member of the Board of Directors of the Uyghur Human Rights Project.
Susan Williams O’Sullivan
During her nearly 30-year career at the U.S. Department of State, Susan Williams O’Sullivan served in a variety of positions in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, including senior advisor for Asia, Director of the Bilateral Affairs Office and, until 2020, Director of the Office of East Asia and Pacific Affairs. During her tenure at the Department, she took a particular interest in human rights issues in China and was a strong advocate for Uyghur human rights in multiple Administrations. Prior to joining the State Department, she was Asia editor of the journal Problems of Communism, and a program associate of the China Council of the Asia Society.
Carl Gershman was President of the National Endowment for Democracy from 1984 to 2021. As NED’s Founding President, he oversaw the creation and dramatic expansion of its grantmaking program as well as NED-sponsored activities to advance democracy, such as the Journal of Democracy, the International Forum for Democratic Studies, the World Movement for Democracy, the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program, and the Center for International Media Assistance. Previously, Mr. Gershman was the U.S. Representative to the U.N.’s Third Committee that deals with human rights, and the Alternate U.S. Representative to the U.N. Security Council. He was previously a Resident Scholar at Freedom House and the Executive Director of Social Democrats, USA. Mr. Gershman has lectured extensively and written for such publications as Commentary, The New Leader, The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times Magazine, Democratization, The Washington Quarterly, and the Journal of Democracy. He has received the Order of the Knight’s Cross from the Government of Poland; the Distinguished Person for Advancing Democracy in China from the Chinese Education Democracy Foundation; the International Campaign for Tibet’s 2005 Light of Truth Award; the Order of Brilliant Star from the President of Taiwan; and a number of other honors. He has written and spoken about the Uyghur rights in The Washington Post, Tablet, The Mosaic Podcast, and other outlets. Mr. Gershman received a B.A. from Yale University and an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“We know you better than you know yourself”: China’s transnational repression of the Uyghur diaspora
Watch the UHRP co-sponsored event featuring the presentation of a new report by Dr. David Tobin and Nyrola Elimä on transnational repression.
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