Irene Khan

Irene Khan 

Irene Khan joined AI as Secretary General in August 2001.

The first woman, first Asian and first Muslim to head the world's largest human rights organization, she has led AI through developments in the wake of September 11, confronting the backlash against human rights; broadening the work of the organization in areas of economic, social and cultural rights; and bringing a strong focus to the issue of women's human rights and violence against women.

Prior to joining AI she served with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, including as Deputy Director in the Department of International Protection, Chief of Mission in India, Senior Legal Advisor for Asia and Senior Executive Officer to the High Commissioner.

She is a recipient of the Pilkington "Women of the Year" award (2002), the John Owens Distinguished Alumni award (University of Manchester - 2003) and the City of Sydney Peace Prize (2006). She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Manchester and was awarded honorary doctorates by Ferris University (Japan), Staffordshire University (UK), Ghent University (Belgium), the University of London, University of Manchester and the American University of Beirut.

She has been voted one of the 100 Most Influential Asians in the UK.