Sawyer Free Library Host Author with Former Amnesty Int'l US Director July 20


“I know no better book on human rights than REVERSING THE RIVERS. Schulz conducts a master class in both brilliant writing and being human.” – Sebastian Junger

The Sawyer Free Library in Gloucester will host international human rights leader and local author William Schulz to discuss his latest book, Reversing the Rivers: A Memoir of History, Hope and Human Rights on Thursday, July 20 at 6:30 p.m.

The free event will be at the Sawyer Free Library's temporary home at 21 Main Street in downtown Gloucester.  Registration is required since space is limited.

From 1994 to 2006, William F. Schulz headed Amnesty International USA, during which he and the organization confronted some of the most significant challenges to human rights. Dr. Schulz led missions to Liberia, Tunisia, Northern Ireland, and Sudan. He also traveled thousands of miles in the United States promoting human rights causes and was frequently quoted in the media. 

Reversing the Rivers: A Memoir of History, Hope and Human Rights, from Penn Press, recounts his years as head of Amnesty International through poignant stories combined with amusing anecdotes and philosophical reflection.  His memoir is an engaging account of how one human rights activist faced the day-to-day realities of struggling with human rights crises while answering, "How do you retain any hope at all in humanity?"

Dr. Schulz is a senior fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  He is the author of three other books on human rights, In Our Own Best Interest: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All (2001, Beacon Press); Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights (2003, Nation Books); and The Coming Good Society: Why New Realities Demand New Rights (2021, Harvard University Press), co-authored with Sushma Raman.  He is also the contributing editor of The Phenomenon of Torture: Readings and Commentary (2007, University of Pennsylvania Press) and The Future of Human Rights: US Policy for a New Era (2008, University of Pennsylvania Press).  And in 2002, The New York Review of Books shared, "William Schulz…has done more than anyone in the American human rights movement to make human rights issues known in the United States."

From 2006-2010 Dr. Schulz was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, specializing in human rights, and served as a consultant to various foundations, including the MacArthur Foundation, UN Foundation, Humanity United, and the Kellogg Foundation. He was appointed Adjunct Professor of Public Administration at New York University's Wagner School of Public Policy in 2008, where he taught for eight years, and in 2013 served as Pozen Visiting Professor of Human Rights at the University of Chicago.  From 2010-20 Dr. Schulz served as an Affiliated Preaching and Public Ethics Professor at Meadville Lombard Theological School.  He is President Emeritus of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, which he led from 2010-16. 

An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, Dr. Schulz was President of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations from 1985-93.  He has served on the boards of People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award Selection Committee, the Wellesley (College) Centers for Women, and many other organizations and currently sits on the board of the Center for Justice & Accountability.

Dr. Schulz is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Oberlin College, holds a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Meadville/Lombard Theological School (then at the University of Chicago) as well as eight honorary degrees.  He lives with his wife, the Rev. Beth Graham, also a Unitarian Universalist minister, in Gloucester.

To register go to the calendar page of or call 978-325-5500.  Space is limited. 

The Sawyer Free Library

21 Main Street | Gloucester


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