Departure of Daniel D’Esposito, HURIDOCS Executive Director

Dear colleagues, 

We have got some news to share with you. Daniel D’Esposito has decided to step down after more than 5 years as Executive Director and over 10 years at HURIDOCS (he joined as training officer in January 2006).

In his words:

“I hope that I served the organisation well. When I started as director in 2010, the organisation was in serious decline, it was just Bert and myself, and Katherin had only just joined as intern. Few NGOs were contacting us, our tools were outdated, and we had not a single donor left. But we felt strongly that the HURIDOCS mission was too important to let it fail, and it was worth fighting for.

And we fought very hard. In the following years we slowly and patiently worked ourselves up from there to where we are now, with more and very talented staff, some really nice success stories, four major donors, a very supportive board, and a set of tools that are getting nicer and nicer every day. We are relevant again, we are doing great work, and the world’s most amazing human rights organisations are coming to us because they know we can help them.

Looking back, what gave me the most pleasure? Was it the late nights sweating on project proposals and donor reports? No! Did I enjoy the stress of having to meet the payroll every month? Guess again! It was all the projects where I was directly involved, such as producing the world’s first Caselaw Analyser, rebuilding the website of the African Commission, and making OpenEvsys so user friendly. And I also enjoyed putting together the best team to ever work in human rights information. 

Of course I’m grateful to everybody I’ve worked with over these years, as you well know. But my biggest thanks go to Oleg Burlaca and his team of Moldovan developers who gave us so many lovely things, to Hannah Forster and Humphrey Sipalla who made me so welcome in Africa, to Agnethe Olesen and Eddie Halpin who mentored me so patiently, and to Janet Haven and Elizabeth Eagen at Open Society Foundations, who had the vision to foresee our potential and helped us get there. Without them, and so many others, we would not be where we are, and I would be a lesser person.

There is still important and exciting work to be done, but I have realised that I am no longer the person to lead that work. I was probably the right director for the early stages, when experimentation, intuition and adaptability were called for. But now the organisation is in a more stable stage of its development where longer term strategy, planning and focus are needed – and these are not my strong points.

So it is time for a new Executive Director. The Board has already started work, and a committee consisting of Douglas Arellanes, Agnethe Olesen, and Hannah Forster is charged with designing and running the Executive Director recruitment process.

You’ll probably want to know what I plan to do next. I don’t really know yet. I’ll follow my intuition, as usual, and trust that the right thing will come along at the right time. Until then, I will explore different directions to find the next challenge to tackle.

When will I leave exactly? First of October. So we have plenty of time to say goodbye. Please reach out.”

From Eddie Halpin, HURIDOCS Chair:

“I need to pay particular thanks to Daniel. His achievements are amazing, his strength incredible, and his passion frightening; I do not think anybody else could possibly have brought HURIDOCS, to where it is and I am honoured to have shared in some of that with him.”

So we all wish Daniel the best for the future! 

Be sure to watch the HURIDOCS mailing list, so as not to miss the vacancy announcement, and other exciting news we have in the pipeline.

HURIDOCS staff and board

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