U.S. presidents have long had to balance trying to maintain U.S. credibility and global leadership on human rights while seeking to advance interests and relationships with world leaders that undermined or weakened human rights-respecting policies. Join the World Affairs Council for a discussion of the challenge of advancing human rights in U.S. policy and what to expect from the Trump administration as global human rights crises continue to unfold. Rob Berschinski, Senior Vice President for Policy at Human Rights First and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, will discuss human rights and U.S. foreign policy with Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation.
About the speaker:
Rob Berschinski oversees Human Rights First’s work advancing a U.S. foreign policy rooted in a strong commitment to human rights, universal values, and American ideals.
Before joining Human Rights First, Rob served in the Obama Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. In that role, he was responsible for establishing and implementing U.S. government policies with respect to fundamental freedoms and democratic governance in 65 countries across Europe, Russia, Central Asia, and South Asia. He also served under Ambassador Samantha Power as Deputy Director of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations’ office in Washington, D.C.; worked as special assistant to then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter; and spent three years as Director for Security and Human Rights Policy at the White House National Security Council. From 2008-2010 he served on the staff of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy as a Presidential Management Fellow, and worked as a defense fellow on the professional staff of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. He began his career as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force, and is an Iraq War veteran.
Rob’s commentary and opinions have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, Politico, CNN, and Vanity Fair, among other outlets.
Rob earned his B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in International Relations from Yale University. He is a former Truman National Security Fellow and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
About the moderator:
Lara Iglitzin has been the executive director of the Foundation since 1995. Arriving at the Foundation in 1992 as a program officer, she developed the Foundation’s Russian human rights program in Russia. Lara did her undergraduate work at the University of Washington in Russian and East European studies, and received master’s degrees in Russian history and Russian studies, from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University respectively. She specialized in U.S.-Soviet relations and early 20th century political history. Her master’s thesis was dedicated to the impact of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment on Soviet foreign policy. Prior to her work at the Foundation, Lara managed the Congressional Roundtable on U.S.-Soviet Relations in Washington, D.C. Active in the national grantmaking community, she helped to establish the group Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement and served as board president for three years. She was also integral to the creation of the International Human Rights Funders Group. Lara has published many articles in national and regional publications on Russian politics and human rights as well as issues in philanthropy. She is active in the Northwest philanthropic community, serving as a long-time trainer for Philanthropy Northwest in its Best Practices in Grantmaking workshops.