Aaron Rhodes '71

Aaron Rhodes is the executive director of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), based in Vienna. The IHF, founded in 1982 to foster cooperation among human rights monitoring groups on both sides of the Iron Curtain, includes 41 organizations and is a leading non-governmental human rights organization in Europe.

Rhodes was born in upstate New York and attended public schools. After one year at Colby College in Maine, he entered Reed College as a sophomore. He graduated with a B.A. in anthropology in 1971, writing a senior thesis, Myths of the Apocalypse, under the supervision of professor of anthropology Gail Kelly ?55.

After working as a musician for a year (playing trumpet in soul, jazz, and rock bands), he entered the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He was awarded the Ph.D. in 1980, having studied the sociology of religion, literature, political philosophy, and other subjects. Rhodes held a number of political and governmental positions in Chicago and Illinois between 1974 and 1983.

Between 1983 and 1991, Rhodes served as assistant to the president of Boston University, where he had wide-ranging administrative duties and helped found a program to encourage minority students to embark on careers in the humanities. In 1991 he was invited to be the coordinator of an international project on the reform of universities and research institutes in post-communist countries, as a consultant to the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. In 1993 he was named to his present post.

Rhodes has taught at four institutions, including Charles University in Prague. His numerous publications include editorials in the international and European press in newspapers such as the International Herald Tribune and the Christian Science Monitor, book reviews, and scholarly articles in refereed journals. He has spoken and lectured widely in Europe and the United States, recently as keynote speaker at the European Union Human Rights Discussion Forum in Brussels. He is a member of the Austrian-American Educational (Fulbright) Commission and is a member of the editorial board of the Helsinki Monitor: Quarterly on Security and Cooperation in Europe. He has two sons, Daniel, 17, and Nathan, 13.