James Ron, Ph.D., is a Minneapolis-based researcher who has had a long career in behavioral science, policy advisory, and human rights advocacy. After working with a local human rights group in Israel, he decided his life to human rights research and advocacy. Trained as a sociologist at UC Berkeley in 1999, Ron has published numerous scholarly articles, books and guest essays on political violence, human rights, civil society, and public opinion. He has consulted for a number of like-minded organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, CARE, Human Rights Watch, and Life for a Child.
James Ron's concern with human rights was shaped by his mandatory three years in the Israeli military, when he witnessed a number of troubling events in South Lebanon. Thereafter, he worked for the Associated Press during the first Palestinian Intifada (1988-92), where he helped report on violence between Israeli soldiers, settlers, and Palestinians. Those experienced prompted him to volunteer for a local Israeli rights groups, B'Tselem, and then to work for the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch. While working for the latter organization, James researched and wrote two book length reports, including one on interrogation of Palestinian suspects by Israeli security forces, and another on the behavior of Israeli undercover soldiers.
James' personal life has been impacted by chronic disease. His son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of two, and he began volunteering soon after for an Australian charity, Life for a Child, that supplies insulin, syringes, and other life saving equipment to children, families, and medical clinics in low income countries. James has done multiple site visits for the organization, visiting hospitals, patients' homes, and government agencies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.