Former State Department Official Joins Human Rights First as Senior Vice President for Policy

Human Rights First announced that former Obama Administration senior official Rob Berschinski has joined the organization as its new Senior Vice President for Policy. Berschinski is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor with extensive experience in national security and foreign policy. He will lead the organization’s efforts to advance a U.S. foreign policy rooted in a strong commitment to human rights, universal values, and American ideals.

“This is the most dangerous time for the ideals of human rights and liberal democracy since WWII. As an organization whose mission is to advance American leadership on these issues, we’re thrilled to have someone with Rob’s experience and passion joining our team at this critical moment. His leadership will be essential in our efforts to advance American ideals globally and challenge official actions that would undermine them,” said Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino.

Berschinski is an accomplished public policy professional with substantial experience in the State Department, White House, and the Department of Defense. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 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.

“Human Rights First’s work to advance American leadership on human rights has never been more important,” said Berschinski. “My time in government continually reinforced to me that the United States is most effective in advancing its interests when it champions human rights and supports the rule of law. I couldn’t be more excited to be joining an organization dedicated to these principles, and with such a strong track record of delivering results.”

Berschinski began his career as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force, and is an Iraq War veteran. Following his service, he was selected as a Presidential Management Fellow on the staff of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, and later worked as a defense fellow on the professional staff of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.

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