C. Dixon Osburn Headshot
C. Dixon Osburn
C. Dixon OsburnHeadshot

C. Dixon Osburn

History-making LGBTQ and human rights advocate

C. Dixon Osburn is the Executive Director of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, United States, a global NGO focused on strengthening democracy against the rising tide of extremism, hate and disinformation. With more than 30 years’ experience in the NGO sector, Dixon is a noted expert at the intersection of civil and human rights, national and international security, and democracy.

Dixon started his career as the co-founder of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network that led the successful effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Dixon is the author of the Amazon best-seller Mission Possible: The Story of Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” 2023 marks the 30th anniversary of the ban on gays in the military that was ultimately repealed in 2011.

Dixon served as Director of Law & Security at Human Rights First where he secured legislation to free prisoners from Guantanamo; as Executive Director at the Center for Justice and Accountability where he led efforts to hold accountable in court war criminals around the globe, including Syria’s Bashar Al-Asaad; and as a Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Carr Center for Human Rights Policy where he wrote extensively on human rights and democracy. Dixon received his AB with distinction from Stanford University and JD/MBA from Georgetown.

As a speaker and consultant, Dixon has worked with organizations including Verizon, Netflix, Prudential Financial, and the Open Society Foundations. He is a frequent commentator on television, radio and in print.

Dixon offers a wealth of experience as a civil rights pioneer, having successfully tackled some of the most vexing issues on the national and international stage. Witty, self-deprecating, and incisive, Dixon can speak to the state of our democracy, social justice and civil rights, the nexus of law and policy, and how to navigate a hyper-partisan political landscape.

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