VJ Books Presents Author Jeri Laber!
Jeri Laber was born in 1931 in New York City. She majored in English and Philosophy at New York University, and then Russian Studies at Columbia University. She worked for 20 years as a full-time parent and part-time writer/editor covering cooking and soviet affairs, and then in 1973, Laber read an article on torture that inspired her to become an activist. She would become a hugely influential part of the human rights movement, in a time which did not embrace women changing the world.
In 1978, Laber founded Helsinki Watch, which would later become known as Human Rights Watch. Originally, the organization was created to monitor compliance with the 1975 Helsinki Accords. Today, the HRW investigates and highlights human rights violations around the globe and works to promote compassion, justice, and dignity for all.
Laber is a member of the board for the Index on Censorship and the Fund for Free Expression. She is a member of Amnesty International, the Council on Foreign Relations, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was a board member of PEN America for 6 years, and then Vice-President for another 2. In 2002 the Association of American Publishers named their International Freedom to Publish Award in her honor. Laber testified against President Slobodan Milosevic at his war crimes trial in The Hague the same year.
In addition to her multitudinous other publications, Laber released a book of her memoirs, The Courage of Strangers, in 2002, and, recently, a novel titled The Russian Key (2021). She lives in New York City and Delaware County, New York with her husband, Charles.