Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.

Sushma Raman

Board Member

Sushma Raman is the executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. She brings over two decades of global experience launching, scaling, and leading social justice and philanthropic programs and collaboratives, building capabilities of grassroots human rights organizations and their leaders, and teaching graduate courses in the public policy schools at UCLA, USC, Tufts Fletcher School, and Harvard Kennedy School.

Sushma is the co-author, along with Bill Schulz (former executive director of Amnesty International USA and Carr Center Senior Fellow), of the book The Coming Good Society: Why New Realities Demand New Rights, released by Harvard University Press in June 2020. This forward-looking book examines the coming changes to the human rights landscape and argues that rights must adapt to new technological and scientific realities or risk being consigned to irrelevance. Sushma has also co-authored the book Holding Together: The Hijacking of Rights in America and How to Reclaim Them for Everyone with Mathias Risse and John Shattuck, released by The New Press in May 2022. Holding Together is about the promise of rights as a source of American identity, the struggle to realize rights by countless Americans to whom the promise has been denied or not fulfilled, the hijacking of rights by politicians who seek power by dividing and polarizing, and the way forward in which rights can bring Americans together instead of tearing them apart.

Sushma is the host of the Carr Center’s Justice Matters podcast, a contributor to Foreign Policy magazine, and a Senior Advisor to Wallbrook, a global intelligence, due diligence, and risk advisory firm.

Sushma has worked at the Ford Foundation, where she managed a $100 million global program (the second largest in the Foundation’s history at that time) where she helped launch and scale social justice and women’s funds around the world, and at the Open Society Foundation, where she was a program officer on the founding staff for US Programs, staffing a $50 million fund established by philanthropist George Soros to support immigrant and refugee rights.

She was a fellow with the German Marshall Fund and the UCLA Luskin School, and is currently a member of the board of RFK Human Rights, established by the family of Bobby Kennedy. She has taught graduate courses on economic justice; inter-sectoral leadership; philanthropy and nonprofit management; global civil society, the NGO sector, and the state; and policy communications for decision makers.

Born and raised in India, Sushma has a B.A. in Economics from Smith College, a M.A. in African Studies from UCLA, and a mid-career MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was awarded the Lucius N. Littauer Fellowship for her academic and leadership achievements.