Adjunct Lecturer, Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Faculty, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Charlie Clements is the Carr Center's Executive Director. Prior to coming to the Carr Center, Clements, a widely respected human rights activist and public health physician, served as president of Unitarian Universalist Service Committee from August 2003 until February 2010. Prior to taking the position at UUSC, he served as executive director of Border WaterWorks, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts and the El Paso Community Foundation, which assisted small U.S. communities along the border without running water or sewers to construct such desperately needed infrastructure.
Throughout the years, Clements has faced several moral dilemmas that shaped his life. As a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Academy who had flown more than 50 missions in the Vietnam War, he decided the war was immoral and refused to fly missions in support of the invasion of Cambodia. Later, as a newly trained physician, he chose to work in the midst of El Salvador's civil war, where the villages he served were bombed, rocketed, or strafed by some of the same aircraft in which he had previously trained.
For two years in the late 1980s, Clements served as director of human rights education at UUSC, leading a number of congressional fact-finding delegations to Central America. In 1997, as president of Physicians for Human Rights, he participated both in the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and the treaty signing for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Clements is author of Witness to War and the subject of an Academy Award-winning documentary of the same title.