Rutgers Division of Global Affairs Professor Richard O’Meara Is an Agent of Change in Washington

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An image of Professor O’Meara at the signing is available from Elena Mavrogeorgis,

On Thursday, January 22, 2009, Professor Richard M. O’Meara, adjunct faculty member of the Division of Global Affairs, was at the Whitehouse to witness President Barack Obama sign three Executive Orders: the first to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay; the second to establish a Special Interagency Task Force on detainee disposition and review detention policies and procedures; and the third to formally ban torture and restrict interrogation techniques to those outlined in the US Army Field Manual and to shut down all CIA-operated detention facilities.  Professor O’Meara, Brigadier General (ret.), was one of 16 members of Human Rights First’s coalition of retired military leaders present for the successful conclusion of a seven-year effort to address policies of torture, ill treatment and indefinite detention.

‘It was a great day for the Human Rights Community and I was happy to participate,’ O’Meara said. ‘These proscriptions will make the nation and our soldiers safer and provide an opportunity to enhance our public diplomacy efforts going forward.’        

Over the last several years, Human Rights First organized more than 50 generals and admirals to advocate for compliance of U.S. interrogation policy with The Hague and Geneva Conventions and other applicable legal and treaty obligations.  The military leaders’ commitments included speaking at public events and with the media, writing op-ed pieces, testifying on Capitol Hill, meeting with the presidential candidates and later with members of President Obama’s transition team to develop implementation guidelines.  The inclusion of these men by the President honors them for their determination to mobilize the political will to bring about change that will advance the protection of human rights. 

Professor O’Meara teaches courses in genocide and war crimes, American security interests in the North Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa and nationalism and ethnic conflict.   The Division of Global Affairs (DGA) is a graduate studies and research institution at the Graduate School of Rutgers University-Newark.

More information on DGA is online at

Media Contact: Eleni Mavrogeorgis