March 4, 2015 . . . Rhinebeck New York . . . The Justus and Karin Rosenberg Foundation announced today a gift to Bard College to create a student internship program that begins in the summer of 2015.

The Rosenberg internships enable students to gain hands-on experience with nonprofit groups and other organizations that focus on hatred, antisemitism, extremism, and xenophobia. In the context of rising waves of violent religious and ethnic prejudice in Europe and elsewhere, of which the Charlie Hebdo attack and the killing of Jews in France and Denmark are just recent examples, the program will support work on the front lines of the struggle for human rights.

The internships, which will be managed by Bard’s Human Rights Project, are named in honor of their benefactor, Justus Rosenberg, who has been teaching at Bard since 1962, and is the last surviving member of the Varian Fry group (known as the “Emergency Rescue Committee”), which rescued hundreds of artists and intellectuals from the Nazis in France during World War II.

In recognition of that legacy, the Rosenberg internships will also encourage student work with NGOs focusing on Holocaust and genocide denial, Jewish heritage, and contemporary issues in, and relating to, Israel.

“This gift of $12,000 is intended to be only the first, as the Rosenberg Foundation works with Bard College to give students with a passion for our mission areas real-world experience,” says Justus Rosenberg, president of the foundation.

“We are delighted to receive this gift,” says Debra Pemstein, Bard College vice president for development and alumni/ae affairs. “Justus Rosenberg is a longtime dedicated faculty member and beloved professor and colleague in the Bard community, and these Rosenberg internships will, we are sure, be transformative for our students.”

“Understanding ideas and contemporary problems and challenges is not only something that can be learned in the classroom,” says Rosenberg, who has taught college students for nearly 60 years. “Testing ideas by hands-on experience is critical for the learning experience. Conversely, the organizations that will host these bright Bard students will gain as well—the students will be encouraged to share what they have learned in college with their host organizations, so they can gain insights into theories and ideas that might enhance their work.”

Thomas Keenan, director of the Bard Human Rights Project, says, “The Rosenberg Foundation’s support for young people who want to see for themselves—and assist in the work of—organizations doing frontline work on these pressing issues goes to the heart of what makes Bard such a special place. It gives me great pleasure to know that in the future a number of them will head off for summer or winter internships bearing the new and distinguished title of Rosenberg intern.”

At the end of the internships, the students write about their work, what they learned, and possible policy recommendations. The essays will be archived by the foundation, and may be read on the foundation’s website, at


The Justus and Karin Rosenberg Foundation supports—through gifts and direct engagement of the Rosenberg Foundation staff—efforts to combat antisemitism and anti-Israel activity on campus, antisemitic hate crimes, Holocaust denial, antisemitic discourse, state-sponsored antisemitism, and other issues that have a direct impact on the growth of hatred and antisemitism. Special attention is given to projects (either initiated by the foundation, or others) that impact high school and college-age students, including projects that help connect Jewish students with their heritage. Whether as a financial resource, a source of expertise, a catalyst, a hands-on partner, or a connective agent, our goal is to increase the effectiveness of programs already in existence, and to imagine and construct new programs that are needed in our areas of interest.

The Bard Human Rights Project is an exploratory research and action initiative at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Through teaching, public programs, research, and engagement with communities in the region and globally, the project aims at once to foster critical discussions of human rights theory and practice, and to engage with practitioners on the leading edges of human rights research. Founded in 1999, the project developed the first interdisciplinary undergraduate degree (B.A.) program in Human Rights in the United States in 2003.