Robert L. Bernstein (1923-2019) was the founder of Human Rights Watch, serving as its Chair from 1978-1998, and Founding Chair Emeritus from 1999 to the present. He was President and Chairman of Random House from 1966-1990, where he published many dissident authors including Andrei Sakharov, Anatoly Sharansky, Václav Havel, Jacobo Timerman, and Wei Jingsheng, in addition to prominent writers William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, William Styron, James Michener, E.L. Doctorow, and Dr. Seuss. He was Chair Emeritus of Human Rights in China, and recently founded a technology-based human rights group called Advancing Human Rights. A graduate of Harvard College, he received honorary degrees from Yale University, Swarthmore College, Bard College, and Tougaloo College, among others. Bernstein was the recipient of many awards, including the Human Rights Award from the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights in 1987, the Curtis Benjamin Award for Creative Publishing from the Association of American Publishers in 1996, and was among the first to receive the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights from the United States government in 1998.
To honor Bob on the one-year anniversary of his passing, Bernstein fellows past and present shared their thoughts on how Bob had impacted them. Their quotes are gathered in the gallery below.