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Julie Mertus

Professor School of International Service

Professor Julie Mertus has written widely on human rights and gender, conflict, the Balkans, U.S. foreign policy and U.N. institutions. She is the author or editor of ten books, including Bait and Switch: Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy, named "human rights book of the year" by the American Political Science Association) and, most recently Human Rights Matters: Local Politics and National Human Rights Institutions and The United Nations and Human Rights. Before entering academia, she worked as a researcher, writer and lawyer for several human rights and humanitarian organizations.


J.D., Yale Law School; B.S. Cornell University

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SIS-School of Intl Service
SIS - 213
T 10am to 1:30pm and W / Th by appt only
Contact Info
(202) 885-2215

Send email to Julie Mertus

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
AU Human Rights Council

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

Professor Mertus’ work focuses on human rights, U.S. foreign policy, refugee and humanitarian law and policy, gender and conflict and post-war transitions. Her geographic expertise is in Central and Eastern Europe, with a specialty on the former Yugoslavia.

Media Appearances

  • WAMU, Radio, “Community Brainstorming Session on Gender-Based Violence,” (October 25, 2010).   
  • Voice of America, videoconference dialogue between American and Kosovar youth on the subject of new/social media (September 2010).   
  • Commentator on human rights and U.S. foreign policy, refugee policy, “ethnic conflict” and post-conflict reconstruction in the Balkans for several media outlets including: BBC World Service, CNN International, CBS, CNBC, Fox News, Voice of America (television and radio), International Herald Tribune, and The New York Times.   
  • Open Democracy  
  • The Baltimore Sun
  • The Chicago Tribune
  • USA Today
  • The Washington Post
  • The Christian Science Monitor
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • Fulbright Association Senior Scholar, 2006   
  • American University (AU) School of International Service (SIS) Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship and Professional Service, 2006   
  • American Political Science Association Human Rights Book of the Year, Bait and Switch, 2005   
  • AU Scholar/ Teacher of the Year, SIS, 2005   
  • AU SIS Faculty Award for Outstanding Curriculum Development, 2003   
  • AU SIS Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship and Professional Service, 2002   
  • Dartmouth College, Rockefeller Visiting Faculty, Institute on Violence and Culture, 2002  
  • U.S. Institute of Peace, Senior Fellow, Jennings Randolph Program for International Peace 2000-2001   
  • Term Member, The Council on Foreign Relations, 1998 – present   
  • Term Member, National Security Law Institute, 1998

Grants and Sponsored Research

  • SIS Summer Research Grant, 2006   
  • SIS Summer Research Grant, 2004   
  • SIS Summer Research Grant, 2003  
  • AU Grant for Curriculum Development (Service Learning), 2006   
  • AU Grant for Curriculum Development, 2002

AU Expert

Area of Expertise:

Human rights, U.S. foreign policy, international law, gender and conflict, Central and Eastern Europe, Kosovo, ethnic conflict, humanitarian intervention, refugees, transitional justice

Additional Information:

Julie Mertus is a frequent commentator on human rights and humanitarian issues, and serves as a consultant for several nongovernmental and governmental post-conflict reconstruction endeavors, including a project in Iraq. She is the author of more than 30 op-eds and general interest articles and 50 academic publications. Her book Bait and Switch: Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2004; 2nd ed., 2008) was named the 2005 Human Rights Book of the Year by the Human Rights Section of the American Political Science Association. She is also author of Human Rights Matters: Local Politics and National Human Rights Institutions (Stanford, 2009); The United Nations and Human Rights(Routledge, 2005; 2nd ed., 2009); and Kosovo: How Myths and Truths Started a War (University of California, 1999). She is coeditor of Human Rights and Conflict (United States Institute of Peace, 2004). Her latest book is Human Rights Matters: Local Politics and National Human Rights Institutions (Stanford, 2009) Her prior appointments include being a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, a human rights fellow at Harvard Law School, a writing fellow at the MacArthur Foundation, and a Fulbright Fellow. A graduate of Yale Law School and the recipent of several research and teaching awards, Mertus was named the 2005 Teacher-Scholar of the Year by American University's School of International Service.

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.