Susan Gzesh is Director of the Human Rights Program, University of Chicago, a position she has held since August 2001. She is also a Senior Lecturer in the Center for International Studies and the College. She teaches courses on contemporary issues in human rights (including the prohibition on torture, women’s rights, and labor rights), the comparative human rights of aliens and citizens, human rights in Mexico and Latin America, and in the College Social Sciences core.
Susan Gzesh received an A.B. from the University of Chicago in 1972 and a J.D. in 1977 from the University of Michigan.
Gzesh's research interests include the inter-relationship between human rights and migration policy, the history of U.S. immigration policy, and Mexico-U.S. relations. In addition to teaching, she directs a broad range of activities in the Human Rights Program including an internship program, public events, and a project on human rights curriculum in liberal arts education, funded by the Teagle Foundation.
From 1996-2001 Susan Gzesh was Director of the Mexico-U.S. Advocates Network (now Enlaces America) and a founding member of the Regional Network of Civil Organizations for Migration, two innovative coalitions of civil society organizations from North America, Mexico, and Central America that advocate on human rights and migration policy with governments of the region. From 1997- 1999, Gzesh was the legal adviser to the Mexican Foreign Ministry on U.S. immigration law and policy. Prior to 1996, Gzesh practiced law in a variety of settings: in private practice, federally-funded legal services, and with the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights. She was a Fulbright Lecturer at the Universidad de Guadalajara in 1990 and served on the Clinton-Gore Transition Team for the Department of Justice in 1992.
Her publications include America’s Human Rights Challenge, Migration Policy Institute, 2006, and "Mexico-U.S. Migration and Cross-Border Organizing," in David Brooks & Jonathan Fox, eds., Cross Border Dialogues: U.S.- Mexico Social Movement Networking, Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, UCSD, 2002, as well as other short articles, op-ed pieces, and commentaries.
Susan is a non-resident Fellow of the Migration Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. and serves on the faculty committees of the Center for Latin American Studies, Committee on International Relations, and the Advisory Committee of the Social Sciences Collegiate Division. She was appointed by Governor Rod Blagojevich to the Illinois New Americans Immigrant Policy Council and serves on the Chicago Committee for Human Rights Watch and the Board of Directors of Kartemquin Films. She is a consultant with various philanthropic foundations. She is fluent in Spanish and is a legal commentator for Univision-TV, Chicago.
Tribute to Golub and Montgomery
ON November 16, 1989, Susan Gzesh served on the Tribute Committee for the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights Tribute to Leon Golub and Lucy Montgomery, held at the Congress Hotel, Chicago.
Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights Bicentennial Celebration
Honoring Frank Wilkinson
Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights organized a "Celebration of the The Dynamic Life of Frank Wilkinson (1914-2006)" on Sunday October 29, 2006. Wilkinson had been a leader of the Communist Party USA, the New American Movement and Democratic Socialists of America.
Honoring Committee members included Susan Gzesh.
"Support Bill Ayers"
In October 2008, several thousand college professors, students and academic staff signed a statement Support Bill Ayers in solidarity with former Weather Underground Organization terrorist Bill Ayers.
In the run up to the U.S. presidential elections, Ayers had come under considerable media scrutiny, sparked by his relationship to presidential candidate Barack Obama.
- We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is currently under determined and sustained political attack...
- We, the undersigned, stand on the side of education as an enterprise devoted to human inquiry, enlightenment, and liberation. We oppose the demonization of Professor William Ayers.
Susan Gzesh of the University of Chicago signed the statement.
- Tribute to Golub and Montgomery: Program, Nov. 16, 1989
- Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights Bicentennial Celebration Program, Nov. 10, 1991
- Liberal Education website: Bill Ayers supporters
-  Chicago Council of Lawyers newsletter 24 March 2003, accessed June 26, 2010