Evron and Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs John Ruggie was appointed as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s special representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises this past month. Ruggie served as UN assistant secretary-general and adviser to Annan on strategic planning from 1997 to 2001.
Ruggie will remain the Frank and Denie Weil Director of the Kennedy School’s Center for Business and Government and continue his professorship, but he will resign his current UN role as special adviser to the secretary-general on the Global Compact.
The UN Commission for Human Rights called for the creation of the new position and the Economic and Social Council recently endorsed its mandate, which will include identifying and clarifying standards of corporate responsibility and accountability with regards to human rights.
“This is a tremendously challenging assignment,” explained Ruggie, “addressing the question of whether multinational firms and other business enterprises should be the direct bearers of international human rights obligations – and, if so, what those standards should be.” He concluded, “I look forward to working with the business community, human rights organizations, and governments to produce practical results that will advance the aims of all.”