|Is||Activist Human rights activist|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||21 November 1976|
|Residence||New York City, New York, USA|
Sara Rosner Bronfman (born 1976) is the daughter of the billionaire philanthropist and former Seagram chairman Edgar Bronfman Sr. She is involved in humanitarian endeavors and was, from about 2001 until its 2019 demise, a leading funder and a member of the leadership team for the controversial multi-level marketing company NXIVM, which has been described as a "cult", as was her sister, Clare Bronfman.
Her father, Canadian billionaire Edgar Bronfman, Sr., met her mother, Rita Webb, the daughter of an English pub owner from Essex, England, in Marbella, Spain. Webb changed her first name to Georgiana and married Bronfman in 1975, two years after his divorce from his first wife, investment-banking heiress Ann Loeb. Webb gave birth to Sara the following year, then Clare two and a half years later.
Shortly after Clare's birth, Georgiana asked Edgar for a divorce. After Edgar married again in 1980, then was again divorced, the two sisters visited their father at his homes outside Charlottesville, Virginia; in Westchester County; at Sun Valley; and on Fifth Avenue in New York City, though their lives were centered in England and in Kenya, with their mother.
Work in Libya
Sara Bronfman first became involved in aiding Libya after traveling as a delegate with the Independent Libya Foundation in November 2011, during the Arab Spring and after the death of Muammar Gaddafi. The delegation was headed by president and founder Basit Igtet (whom she would later marry) and consisted of multiple humanitarian experts, including Adam Hock and Joseph Hagin. They toured post-Gaddafi Libya and presented their "multi-phase re-integration program," which was accepted by the local authorities of Benghazi, who were appointed by the Libyan National Transitional Council.
She has been involved with the U.S.-Libya Chamber of Commerce since its founding in November 2011 with the purpose of developing viable economic links between American and Libyan enterprises. The chamber announced that Sara, who was then a member on the board, would be the new president after the conclusion of a vote conducted by the organizations board members on February 20, 2012. The announcement occurred after Adam Hock resigned as president and board member to pursue private ventures within the country. In an interview with the National Journal, Bronfman stated that the situation in Libya provides an opportunity for the State Department to change their tactics, and "rather than enforcing our ways on them, we need to understand their ways, learn from them and discover which of our country's many strengths we can best support them."(sic)
Sara Bronfman is also involved with the Canada-Libya Chamber of Commerce, which was founded on March 12, 2012. Bronfman and husband Basit Igtet are the inaugural president and chairman of the board respectively. Positioned to provide help and advice to the people of Libya, the Chamber of Commerce discourage continued business with groups such as SNC-Lavalin, who allegedly did business with the Gadaffi regime. The group is one of several working to restore the economy in the region.
NXIVM leadership and funding
At age 25, Sara was introduced to NXIVM by a family friend. NXIVM is a multi-level marketing organization founded by Keith Raniere that claimed to help individuals achieve self-discovery, offering personal and professional development seminars, but is sometimes referred to as a cult.
Sara has described herself, prior to discovering NXIVM, as "dilettantish." After her introduction to NXIVM, Sara urged Clare, then 23, to become involved. Clare was then committed to her equestrian career as a competitive jumper, horse trainer, and owner Slate River Farm; she was described as being "a bit withdrawn and certainly the type to stay in and read while everyone else goes out."
Sara and Clare became committed followers and financial backers of both NXIVM and its leader, Keith Raniere, and relocated to upstate New York to work as NXIVM trainers. "As Sara would later explain on her blog," wrote Suzanna Andrews in a profile of the sisters for Vanity Fair, "she was 'in search of finding ways to bring peace to the world.' According to [a] family friend, who put it more prosaically, she was desperately looking for some purpose in her life. And she found it at NXIVM."
Sara began working with Raniere's company Executive Success Programs, Inc. (ESP) and its "proprietary technology" Rational Inquiry, which had been created by Raniere.
According to one source, "She founded the company's VIP Programs, which provide distinguished individuals with special training and coaching. These programs[,] facilitated by the company's President Nancy Salzman, were responsible for launching ESP into the British and Irish markets in 2005." Soon Sara Bronfman was on the Executive Board of ESP and had become "Director of Humanities, Regional Vice President, Professional Coach and Head Trainer."
In September 2018, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Bronfman in the Brooklyn Supreme Court, asserting that she "ensnared" Isabella Martinez and Gabrielle Leal, among others, into taking costly classes as part of "a fraudulent scheme nationwide" for Raniere and NXIVM.
On June 19, 2019, a Federal District Court in Brooklyn convicted NXVIM founder Raniere of sex trafficking and racketeering.
Ethical humanitarian Foundation
Sara, along with her sister, Clare Bronfman, formed a non-profit organization called the Ethical Humanitarian Foundation after being "conceptualized" by Keith Raniere in 2007. She, Clare and Keith Raniere also established a non-profit organization called the World Ethical Foundations Consortium. Sara is listed as a Trustee of the organization. The group claims that its goal is to move humanity "towards a more noble civilization" by adopting a "humanity first foundation". As part of their involvement in WEFC, Sara and Clare were credited with being able to bring the Dalai Lama to Albany to participate in the WEFC's inaugural event on May 6, 2009. Sara had long been eager to meet the Dalai Lama. "She wanted the Dalai Lama to be her friend," wrote Maureen Tkacik in a New York Observer profile of the sisters. "She had been obsessed with him for two and a half years." "I was literally in my bedroom one day listening to his tapes and thought to myself, 'Wow, this guy is amazing!'" Sara explained in a radio interview the day before the Tibetan spiritual leader arrived in Albany.
Sara Bronfman has been described as being "determined to stay true to her philanthropic roots" and as being "[i]nspired by the humanitarian and philanthropic endeavors of her father and late Grandfather, Edgar M. Bronfman, and Samuel Bronfman, Ms. Bronfman has been seeking to pursue the family tradition in ways that will truly benefit humanity. She views her work with ESP as a way of further developing herself personally and professionally, and as a means by which to inspire people and families such as her own to invest both themselves and their resources ethically."
A Capella Innovations
Sara is a VIP Liaison with A Cappella Innovations, a non-profit organisation whose goal is to share the joy and enlightenment that comes from singing. The organisation hosted several events at the EGG performing arts center in Albany, New York, in 2008. These events included performances by Blake Lewis, Allison Mack, and Fork.
In 2009, the Special Olympic games were held in Boise, Idaho. 85 nations were to be in attendance with over 3000 athletes competing in seven Olympic type sports. The event was to be attended by several dignitaries, including the Dalai Lama.
On January 7, however, just a month before the games were set to begin, the Dalai Lama canceled under unclear circumstances. Two weeks later, on January 21, Sara Bronfman who had heard rumors that the invitation to the Dalai Lama had been withdrawn, wrote a letter to the Idaho Mountain Express, a local Blaine County newspaper, demanding that the Special Olympics board explain the cancellation. She stated that she would formally resign as an honorary board member of the Special Olympics if it turned out that the Dalai Lama had been dis-invited by no fault of his own. She would do so, she said "not as a stand against the Special Olympics, but rather as a stand for the values she hoped to uphold when she chose to support the organization". While the media drew no formal conclusion, official statements were made by both the Special Olympics Organizing Committee, which claimed that the Dalai Lama had turned down their invitation, and the Office of Tibet, which claimed that the organizers tried to appease Chinese opposition by rescheduling his visit to a date on which it would be impossible for him to attend.
She is married to Libyan businessman Basit Igtet; they have one daughter.
In 2017, Lama Tenzin Dhonden, the self-styled "Personal Emissary for Peace for the Dalai Lama," was suspended from his position amid corruption charges; the investigation also revealed a 2009 sexual relationship between Dhonden and Bronfman.