Michael Shaikh is a writer and human rights activist based in New York City. Most recently, Michael was the Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability in New York City, where he focused on embedding human rights principles into the city’s climate change projects. Before joining the Mayor’s Office in 2015, Michael led the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights investigations into the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar. Prior to the UN, Michael was Director of Country Operations at the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) where he oversaw the organization’s work reduce civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and Mali. Before joining CIVIC, he was a Senior Analyst at the International Crisis Group (ICG) based in Bangkok, where for five years he led reporting on political conflicts across South and Southeast Asia. Between 2005 and 2008, Michael was based in Kabul where he served first as ICG’s Afghanistan Analyst and then as Human Rights Watch’s Afghanistan Researcher.
Michael has contributed commentary to The New York Times, The Economist, The Financial Times, BBC, VICE, Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, and PBS Newshour. A graduate of Hobart & William Smith Colleges, he holds a BA in political science and an MA in international policy from the Middlebury Institute for International Affairs at Monterey. Michael is currently a volunteer cook at CHiPS, a soup kitchen and women’s shelter in Brooklyn, and is working on a project looking at how political violence changes food culture.