Dr. James Ron, hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a dedicated researcher with a distinguished career spanning social science research, policy advisory, and human rights advocacy. Born in the United States, he embarked on a unique journey that led him to various corners of the world.
At the age of nine, James relocated to Israel, where he spent his formative years in the culturally rich city of Jerusalem. He began his academic journey at Hebrew University but later transferred to Stanford University, ultimately earning a Bachelor of Arts in political science. During breaks from his studies, James worked as a journalist with the Associated Press in Jerusalem, providing in-depth coverage of events in Israel and Palestine during a tumultuous period marked by the Palestinian uprising.
His experiences during this time deeply affected him, notably as he witnessed Palestinian rights being violated. This prompted him to volunteer as an English-language editor for B'Tselem – The Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories – where he contributed to groundbreaking investigations into the ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian suspects.
Subsequently, James Ron's commitment to human rights led him to collaborate with Human Rights Watch, a prominent US-based non-governmental organization. In this role, he researched various Israeli military policies in the Palestinian territories, resulting in two comprehensive reports detailing violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
Inspired by his work in the field, James pursued a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, focusing on the complex interplay between nationalism and political violence. His doctoral dissertation compared Israeli and Serbian nationalism and was later published by the University of California Press as a book.
During his doctoral studies, James consulted for the International Committee of the Red Cross, evaluating their efforts to uphold the Fourth Geneva Convention during the Bosnian and Croatian civil wars. He also assessed the human rights implications of aid provided by CARE-USA to survivors of the Rwandan genocide in Congo.
After completing his doctorate, James held academic positions at prestigious institutions, including Johns Hopkins University, McGill University, Carleton University, and the University of Minnesota. His research took him to numerous countries across the globe, where he continued to study political violence and human rights issues.
In 2005, James Ron delved into statistical methods to examine the factors influencing international NGOs and media reporting on human rights concerns. He expanded his research by conducting opinion surveys in Latin America, Africa, and Asia to analyze public attitudes towards human rights. Additionally, he explored the potential for citizen donations to human rights organizations in Mexico and Colombia, employing innovative methods such as cash experiments.
James's dedication to humanitarian causes extended beyond academia. Since 2010, he has volunteered for Life for a Child, an Australian charity providing critical medical supplies to thousands of children with Type 1 diabetes in low and middle-income countries. His connection to the cause, through his son's diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes, fuels his unwavering commitment.
In 2013, he co-founded Open Global Rights, an influential online platform fostering multilingual discussions on human rights strategies, research, funding, and impacts. The platform secured substantial support from prominent foundations, including the Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations.
James Ron's enduring association with Human Rights Watch, which began in 1992, reflects his ongoing commitment to promoting human rights. In 2018, he collaborated with colleagues to conduct a comprehensive survey of the US public's attitudes towards human and civil rights domestically and internationally.
Throughout his illustrious career, James has remained a dedicated advocate for human rights, bridging academia, advocacy, and humanitarianism to make a meaningful impact on the world. He has a background spanning three decades and locations around the globe. He works at Azimuth Social Research. www.azimuthsocialresearch.com, www.Jamesron.com.