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Dr. Simon Adams
President & CEO , Center for Victims of Torture

Dr. Simon Adams is President and CEO of the Center for Victims of Torture, the largest international organization that treats survivors and advocates for an end to torture worldwide. The Center for Victims of Torture is a nonprofit organization with offices in Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Uganda, United States and additional project sites in countries around the world.

Dr. Adams previously served as Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect for a decade, where he led advocacy at the United Nations and with various governments to help prevent crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. He has also worked extensively with human rights defenders around the world, including in Syria, Myanmar, Iraq, Democratic Republic of the Congo and other conflict zones. Between 1994 and 2002 Dr. Adams worked with former IRA prisoners in support of the Northern Ireland peace process. He is also a former member of the international anti-apartheid movement and of the African National Congress in South Africa.

Dr. Adams is the author of five books, including “Mass Atrocities, the Responsibility to Protect and the Future of Human Rights,” (Routledge, 2021). He has also written for the New York Times, The Australian, News24 (South Africa), O Estado de S. Paulo (Brazil), Los Angeles Times and many other publications. Dr. Adams regularly appears as an expert commentator on CNN, Al-Jazeera, BBC World News, Deutsche Welle News, China Global Television Network and numerous other international media.

Dr. Adams studied at the University of Witswatersrand in South Africa and at the University of New South Wales in Australia, where he received his Ph.D. His senior academic appointments include serving as Pro Vice Chancellor (International Engagement) at Monash University, Australia’s largest public university and as Vice President of its South African campus between 2008-2010.

Among his other commitments, Dr. Adams is currently Co-Chair of the International Advisory Board of Skateistan, an award-winning non-profit organization that uses skateboarding to introduce children to educational and leadership opportunities in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Jordan and South Africa. In 2020 a documentary about Skateistan, “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re A Girl),” won an Academy Award.