Aisenstadt Foundation: From Mathematics to Human Rights


Published: 1Dec2008

The Faculty of Law is thrilled to announce that the Nussia & André Aisenstadt Foundation has generously donated $125,000 to support research at the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism.

The Centre is one of the most dynamic research hubs in the country, where gifted students work under internationally-acclaimed human rights scholars such as Director René Provost, Research Director Colleen Sheppard, and Professors Frédéric Mégret, Payam Akhavan, Alana Klein and others.

“André Aisenstadt was perhaps best known as a brilliant mathematician and engineer, but he was also a passionate supporter of education and the advancement of human rights,” said Michael D. Vineberg (BA’65, BCL’68, MA’68), a McGill Law alumnus who, along with being a partner at Davies, Ward, Phillips & Vineberg LLP, serves as both Trustee and President of the Foundation. “Through this gesture, our aim is to provide researchers at the Centre with the tools they need to help combat discrimination in all of its forms.”

André Aisenstadt was born in Russia in 1912, but moved to Switzerland to study physics and mathematics under Erwin Schrödinger in Zürich, where he also befriended Albert Einstein. With political tensions rising in Europe, the young scholar emigrated to Canada in 1939. Settling in Montreal, Aisenstadt quickly became a pillar of the city’s rich artistic, educational, and Jewish communities.

He played a key role in establishing the Montreal Jewish General Hospital Foundation, acted as governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and as president of the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal. He also sat on the executive for l’Université de Montréal, where he helped to create the Centre de recherches mathématiques. For these accomplishments and many more, he was made Grand Officier de l’Ordre national du Québec in 1991. Prior to his death in 2001, he and his wife Nussia created a foundation to carry on his philanthropic activities.

The Foundation’s $125,000 gift will enhance research at the Centre for Human Rights and Pluralism through its support of the Executive Director and research assistanceships for students. Students from the law faculties of McGill and l’Université de Montréal will have the opportunity to apply for these positions as Nussia & André Aisenstadt Student Research Fellows.

“We are incredibly grateful to the generosity of the Nussia & André Aisenstadt Foundation,” said Faculty of Law Dean Nicholas Kasirer. “By building into the project opportunities for students at l’Université de Montréal to participate in human rights research program of the Centre, we hope to bring students from Montreal’s two law faculties closer together.”

For more information on the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, please visit the web site at

Contact Information

Ester Driham
Development Officer, Faculty of Law
ester.driham [at]
Office Phone: 
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