Schulz chosen for his leadership on human rights.
Schulz has had a distinguished career in human rights. He served as the executive director of Amnesty International USA from 1994 to 2006 and is the author of several books, including In Our Own Best Interest: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All. He served on the UUSC’s board from 2003 until 2009, three of those years as chair.
The UUSC was officially formed in 1963 from the merger of the Unitarian Service Committee and the Universalist Service Committee, both of which had been created to offer humanitarian aid in Europe during and immediately after World War II. Since then, the organization’s mission has broadened to support groups all over the world, especially those focused on economic rights, environmental justice, and civil liberties. The UUSC also provides assistance in times of crisis to groups that might be overlooked by larger aid organizations. The UUSC and the UUA have formed joint relief funds in response to the earthquake in Haiti (2010), Hurricane Katrina (2005), and the Indonesian tsunami (2004). They try to support grassroots organizations in those areas with whom the UUSC is already partnered or that have a proven record of local service delivery.
When Schulz was initially asked whether he wanted to be considered for the permanent job as UUSC president and CEO, the UUSC says he declined. After considering several other candidates, the presidential search committee came to the conclusion that Schulz was ideally qualified for the job and persuaded him to reconsider. “Bill’s record of accomplishment in human rights is extraordinary,” said the Rev. John Gibbons, minister of First Parish in Bedford, Mass., and a committee member, in a press release issued by the UUSC. “He is a scholar of human rights and a passionate advocate. He is also a human being willing to jeopardize his own safety. Bill is the epitome of a Unitarian Universalist who knows that faith commitments are demonstrated foremost by actions and not merely by intentions.”
In a November 3 email to UU World, Schulz described his vision for the organization: “In the face of fear and suspicion, tragedy and want, UUSC’s job is to help Unitarian Universalists be the most effective agents of justice and healing they can possibly be. Whether that be through hands-on action to help people who are suffering, online opportunities to speak truth to power, a more robust engagement with young people, a more active partnership with the UUA, or a simple willingness to learn from our mistakes, UUSC will model the conviction that the world is too dangerous today for anything but excellence.”
UUA President Peter Morales congratulated Schulz on the appointment. “I look forward to seeing greater collaborative efforts between the UUA and UUSC, as both organizations continue our work for social justice,” he wrote.
Schulz will officially start the new job on February 1, 2011.
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