Aryeh Neier has a talent for risk and a talent for trust.
The first time I met Aryeh I was a bored child, glumly tagging along with my mother to a workshop at the New York Institute for the Humanities, where she was a fellow. I don’t think I was older than ten or eleven, but Aryeh introduced himself to me as gravely as if I were a visiting dignitary–an emissary from the far-off planet of childhood.
The second time I met Aryeh, I was twenty-five or so, and only a little bit wiser than I had been at ten. Gara LaMarche had just been lured away from Human Rights Watch, where I had been a law school intern, to run OSI’s new U.S. Programs Office. Gara hired me as a consultant, asking me to identify and interview experts who might suggest interesting new directions for the US Programs Office. I did so, then wrote several lengthy and enthusiastic memos, outlining numerous potential initiatives new OSI initiatives. Gara took me in to see Aryeh, who received me as gravely as he had fifteen years earlier. I babbled away. Aryeh nodded solemnly, and said little. I left convinced he thought I was young, foolish, and possibly insane.
But within a few weeks, I was meeting once again with Aryeh, this time at George Soros’s house in New Bedford. I felt as out of place as my battered little Toyota Tercel looked in George Soros’s driveway. I was so dazed by my surroundings–I was at a billionaire’s house! My dented little car was parked in a billionaire’s driveway! There were horses somewhere close by! There was a butler!–that I almost missed Aryeh’s suggestion that we go speak to George. (George! We were calling a billionaire “George”!)
Rosa Brooks, A Tribute to Aryeh Neier, in ADVANCING INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE: A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS AND PERSONAL REMINISCENCES DEDICATED TO ARYEH NEIER, (Open Society Foundation (forthcoming, 2013))
Scholarly Commons Citation
Brooks, Rosa, "A Tribute to Aryeh Neier" (2013). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 1289.