Gift to Law School Will Support Human Rights Advocacy

Yale Law School will help educate the next generation of human rights leaders, with the support of a $3 million gift from the Robina Foundation.

The gift, to be administered over the next three years, will create the Robina Foundation Human Rights Fellowship Initiative at Yale Law School, which will provide support for human rights leaders at all stages of their careers, from J.D. students to senior-level fellows.

The Robina Initiative will encourage students’ interest in human rights and offer financial support allowing them to pursue human rights careers. It will also foster the work of human rights advocates by providing opportunities for them to spend time in residence at Yale Law School.

“Investing in the development of human capital is a critical, but usually overlooked, step toward ensuring the successful future of the human rights movement worldwide,” says Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh. “The Robina Foundation Human Rights Fellowship Initiative here at Yale Law School will seek to fill that gap by educating future leaders at all levels and fields of human rights work.”

Through the Robina Human Rights Fellowship Initiative, Yale Law School will make the following financial support available:

• Financial aid to offset the tuition of students committed to human rights careers;

• Stipends and travel funds for first- and second-year law students to spend the summer working in human rights-oriented jobs;

• Postgraduate fellowships allowing Yale Law School alumni to begin their human rights practice immediately after law school; and

• Fellowships in residence giving scholars, clinicians, government servants and practitioners the opportunity to take time from their careers in international human rights to explore and contribute new ideas in the intellectual community of Yale Law School.

The result of these efforts, says Koh, “will be an expanding network of superbly trained human rights scholars, practitioners and teachers capable of making a difference in all varieties of human rights struggles.”

Gordon Aamoth, president of the Robina Foundation, said: “James Binger, a Yale alumnus and prominent Minneapolis businessman and philanthropist, established the Robina Foundation funded by his estate with the purpose of supporting projects that are transformative and that will positively affect our society and the world we live in. We believe the Robina Human Rights Fellowship at Yale Law School will do this and have a lasting legacy.”

Yale Law School has long been committed to human rights education and advocacy. For decades, its Orville H. Schell Jr. Center for International Human Rights and Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic have educated and provided experience to students who are passionate about human rights. These two programs have hired academic and clinical educators with the theoretical and practical knowledge to train students in the practices most likely to yield human rights improvements, and have created a community of alumni committed to a culture of encouraging public service. An array of fellowships, including the Robert L. Bernstein Fellowships in International Human Rights, provide opportunities for current students and graduates to deepen their experience.

By operating in partnership with the Schell Center, said Koh, the Robina Initiative will build on the center’s reputation, allowing the Law School to expand its impact on human rights across the world.

The Robina Foundation, a Minnesota-based private grantmaking foundation, seeks to positively affect critical social issues by encouraging innovation and financially supporting transformative projects at its four institutional partners: Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, The Council on Foreign Relations, Yale University and the University of Minnesota Law School.

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