Hauser, Rita Eleanor

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HAUSER, RITA ELEANOR (1934– ), U.S. lawyer and u.n. representative known for her interests in world peace, human rights, and philanthropic ideals. The elder of two daughters of Nathan and Frieda Abrams, Hauser received her B.A. from Hunter College in 1954, did graduate work in France on a Fulbright Scholarship, and attended Harvard Law School where she was one of the first women students. Hauser's advanced degrees included a Ph.D. in political economy from the University of Strasbourg in France; an LL.B. from New York University Law School, and the French equivalent of an LL.B. (a License en droit) from the University of Paris Law Faculty. An international lawyer, Hauser was senior partner and counsel in the New York City law firm Strook, Strook, and Lavan for more than 20 years. Raised in a Republican family, Hauser became involved in high-level Republican politics, where she was recognized as a distinguished strategist and speech writer. Hauser was appointed as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights from the late 1960s to the early 1970s and was also a member of the United States delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. While serving at the u.n. Hauser met Golda *Meir, who encouraged her engagement with Jewish issues and Middle East politics. As head of the International Center for Peace (1984–91) Hauser was instrumental within the team brokering the Oslo Accords between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Israel. In her capacity as chair of the International Peace Academy (which is affiliated with the United Nations), Hauser was also invited by the Palestine Elections Committee to serve as an official observer of the 1996 Palestinian elections. Hauser and her husband, Gustave, the parents of two children, created the Hauser Foundation, a philanthropic organization "that aims to illuminate the vital role that the nonprofit sector and nongovernmental organizations play in aiding societies to discover and accomplish important public purpose." The Hauser Foundation also focused specifically on conflict resolution in the Middle East. Hauser was the founding chair of the Advisory Board of the rand Center for the Middle East Public Policy (an acronym, rand, was derived from the contraction of research and development). Hauser was director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London and served on the boards of the New York Philanthropic Society and the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. She also served as vice chair of the Dean's Advisory Board of Harvard Law School, as national co-chair of the Harvard University Campaign, and on commissions of the U.S. Department of State and at the Brookings Institution. In 2001 President Bush appointed her to the U.S. President's Foreign Advisory Board and to the U.S. President's Intelligence Oversight Board.


R. Gursky, "Hauser, Rita Eleanor," in: P.E. Hyman and D. Dash Moore (eds.), Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, vol. 2 (1997), 602–4. website:

[Marla Brettschneider (2nd ed.)]