Yale Law School Announces the Robert L. Bernstein Fellowships in International Human Rights

Anthony T. Kronman, dean of the Yale Law School, announced the establishment of the Robert L. Bernstein Fellowships in International Human Rights at a weekend gathering of Yale Law School alumni. The Fellowships will be awarded annually to two or three Yale Law School graduates pursuing projects devoted to the advancement of human rights around the world. Fellows will receive a stipend of $35,000 plus medical and other benefits to support full-time human rights work for a year. The Bernstein Fellowship Selection Committee will be made up of Yale Law School faculty and alumni who have demonstrated a commitment to human rights. Fellows will be encouraged, but not required, to arrange for sponsorship by an existing human rights organization.

The Fellowships have been established through the generous gifts of numerous individuals and organizations to honor Robert L. Bernstein, the former chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Random House, Inc.; and the founder and chairman of Human Rights Watch, an organization with five regional divisions covering Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and three thematic divisions covering arms transfers, women’s rights and children’s rights.

The Bernstein Fellowship program continues Mr. Bernstein’s long involvement with the Yale community. He has lectured at Yale about the Soviet dissident Andrei D. Sakharov, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975 but was barred by Soviet authorities from traveling to Norway to receive the award. At that time, Mr. Bernstein and his wife, Helen, accompanied Mr. Sakharov’s wife, Yelena Bonner, when she delivered the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech for her husband. In 1976, Yale invited Mr. Bernstein to campus as a Gordon Grand Fellow, and he spent several days on the campus, living in one of the undergraduate residential colleges, giving lectures and meeting with students and faculty.

Throughout his life, Robert L. Bernstein has been actively committed to the cause of human rights. In the early 1970s, he was the founder and chair of the International Freedom to Publish Committee of the Association of American Publishers. Mr. Bernstein has received numerous awards for his human rights work, including the Florina Lasker Civil Liberties Award from the New York Civil Liberties Union and the “Spirit of Liberty” award from People for the American Way. In 1987, he received the Human Rights Award from the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, which noted that he “has worked tirelessly and with singular effectiveness to promote freedom of thought and expression worldwide.”

He has received honorary degrees from the New School and Swarthmore College, as well as the Barnard College Medal of Distinction.

To inaugurate the Bernstein Fellowships, a free, public panel on “The Role of Human Rights in U.S. P China Relations” will be held Tuesday, Nov. 4, 1997, in Yale Law School’s Levinson Auditorium. The panel will be moderated by Harold Hongju Koh, the Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law, and director of the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School. Robert Bernstein, after founding Helsinki Watch in 1977, enlisted Orville H. Schell, Jr. to chair the Americas Watch in 1981.

The panelists include Jeffrey E. Garten, dean of the Yale School of Management and former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade; Orville H. Schell III, dean of the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Journalism; Li Lu, one of the student leaders at Tiananmen Square; and Harry Wu, a former Chinese political prisoner, now research fellow at the Hoover Institution and executive director of the Lagai Research Foundation.

‘ “The establishment of the Bernstein Fellowships is a doubly wonderful event,” Dean Kronman remarked. “It is wonderful in the recognition it confers on Bob Bernstein for his deep and continuing commitment to the cause of human rights, and for the imaginative work he has done over many, many years to give this cause the attention and institutional support it deserves. The creation of this exciting new program is wonderful, too, in the opportunities it creates for the growing number of Yale Law School students who share Bob Bernstein’s commitment to human rights, and in its powerful reaffirmation of the Yale Law School’s longstanding involvement in the field. The recipients of the Fellowships will carry forward the essential work that Bob Bernstein has so ably championed and honor him in the best way possible by pursuing the great moral cause to which he himself has given so much.”

A photo and full biography of Robert L. Bernstein are available on request. For further information, call Elizabeth Stauderman, director of public affairs at Yale Law School, 203/432-4938.

Share this with Facebook Share this with Twitter Share this with LinkedIn Share this with Email Print this

Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325