NEW YORK, Dec. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Open Society Foundations today announced the appointment of Christopher Stone as the next president of the Foundations, effective July 2012. For almost three decades the Open Society Foundations have been committed to promoting justice, human rights, freedom of expression, health, and education around the world. Stone will oversee more than $850 million in annual expenditures.
"Chris Stone shares my commitment to open society, and I am delighted to have him lead the next phase of the Foundations," said George Soros, chairman and founder of the Open Society Foundations. "His appointment ensures that protecting the rights of some of the world's most marginalized communities will remain a key feature of the Open Society Foundations."
Stone currently is the Guggenheim Professor of the Practice of Criminal Justice at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and director of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. From 1994 to 2004, he served as director of the Vera Institute of Justice and has extensive experience on the improvement of criminal justice systems as well as the leadership and governance of nonprofit organizations. He has been a board member of the Open Society Justice Initiative since 2004.
"It is a great honor to join George Soros at the helm of the Open Society Foundations, especially at this moment when there is so much to be done," said Stone. "In many places the Open Society Foundations are a leading supporter of efforts to strengthen the rule of law, democratic practice, and basic respect for human dignity. It will be a privilege to work alongside the Foundations' grantees and staff as we move this agenda forward."
Stone's appointment is the result of an international search that began when current President Aryeh Neier announced earlier this year that he would step down. "Chris is a superb choice and I am confident that he will ably lead the Foundations," said Neier, who was appointed president in 1993.
Under Neier's leadership, the Foundations have supported a wide range of open society issues, including helping usher democracy into Eastern Europe after the fall of Communism, supporting the creation of the International Criminal Court, and promoting access to information around the world. A full timeline of Open Society achievements is available online.
"Aryeh Neier is a brilliant and determined leader who has shaped the Foundations," said Soros. "I am extremely grateful to Aryeh for his leadership and devotion to open society."
Neier served for 12 years as executive director of Human Rights Watch, which he co-founded. Before that, he worked for 15 years at the American Civil Liberties Union, including eight years as national executive director.
The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. Working with local communities in more than 70 countries, the Open Society Foundations support justice and human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education.
SOURCE Open Society Foundations