Mary Ann Glendon

Learned Hand Professor of Law


Mary Ann Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University, and a former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.  She currently serves as a Commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and as a member of the Board of Supervisors of the Institute of Religious Works (Vatican Bank). She writes and teaches in the fields of human rights, comparative law, constitutional law, and political theory. Glendon is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (serving as President from 2003-2013), and the International Academy of Comparative Law.  She is also a past president of the UNESCO-sponsored International Association of Legal Science. She served two terms as a member of the U.S. President's Council on Bioethics (2001-2004), and has represented the Holy See at various conferences including the 1995 U.N. Women's conference in Beijing where she headed the Vatican delegation. Glendon has contributed to legal and social thought in several widely translated works, bringing a comparative approach to a variety of subjects. They include The Forum and the Tower (2011), a series of biographical essays exploring the relation between political philosophy and politics-in-action; Traditions in Turmoil (2006), a collection of essays on law, culture and human rights; A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (2001), which the New York Times reviewer said should be the definitive study of the framing of the UDHR; A Nation Under Lawyers (1996), a portrait of turbulence in the legal profession, analyzing the implications of changes in legal culture for a democratic polity that entrusts crucial roles to legally trained men and women; Rights Talk (1991), a critique of the impoverishment of political discourse; The Transformation of Family Law (1989), winner of the legal academy’s highest honor, the Order of the Coif Triennial Book Award; Abortion and Divorce in Western Law (1987), winner of the Scribes Book Award for best writing on a legal subject; The New Family and the New Property (1981), and textbooks on comparative legal traditions.

Areas of Interest

Hauser 504


Assistant: Susan Norton / 617-496-2609