A woman with short blonde hair looks at the camera.

Betsy Popken

Executive Director; Director, Climate Justice Program

Human Rights Center


Betsy Popken is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley School of Law. Betsy directs HRC’s Climate Justice program, leads a team conducting a human rights impact assessment and model evaluation of large language models, and spearheads HRC’s work on international peace negotiations, currently focused on Ukraine.  Drawing from her real-world experience, Betsy teaches courses on Technology & Human Rights and International Peace Negotiations at Berkeley Law.  Betsy is regularly interviewed by information and communication technology companies conducting due diligence to assess human rights risks.  Previously, Betsy co-founded and co-led the Business & Human Rights practice at the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, where she had a particular passion for helping clients tackle human rights issues raised by emerging technologies. Betsy worked on United Nations-mediated peace and ceasefire negotiations in Darfur, Syria, and Yemen through the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG). She led PILPG’s work supporting the Syrian opposition negotiation team in UN-mediated peace negotiations in Geneva, funded by the U.S. State Department, U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and Global Affairs Canada. Betsy also founded and led PILPG’s Istanbul office in 2015-2016, and worked at this time throughout the Middle East and at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Betsy advised Ukraine’s Parliament on how to vet the public sector.  She currently serves as a Senior Peace Fellow for PILPG. Betsy previously taught negotiations at Stanford Law School, and worked at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Pacific Council on International Policy, and California Rural Legal Assistance. She was a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.



  • Technology & Human Rights
  • International Peace Negotiations