In May, Harvard Law School Professor Mary Ann Glendon, who served as the former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan federal body that is principally responsible for reviewing the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and making policy recommendations to the president, secretary of state, and Congress.

Glendon is one of nine commissioners who are appointed by the president and leadership of both political parties in the Senate and House of Representatives. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced Glendon’s appointment on May 23.

Said Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow: “There could be no better person than Mary Ann Glendon for this important post. Mary Ann’s deep expertise in human rights, her clarity, and her wisdom will advance the freedom of religion around the world.”

“USCIRF welcomes Mary Ann Glendon, said Ambassador Jackie Wolcott, executive director of USCIRF. “Given her remarkable depth of knowledge, experience, and commitment, I am confident that she will be a great asset to our commission and its mandate, helping us advance the cherished right of freedom of religion or belief around the world and support its integration into our country’s foreign policy and national security strategy.”

In addition to Glendon, commissioners include Elliott Abrams, a foreign policy veteran of the Bush and Reagan administrations; Dr. Azizah Y. al-Hibri, a professor emeritus at the University of Richmond School of Law; Sam Gejdenson, a former congressman and the son of Holocaust survivors; Robert P. George ‘81, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University; Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy; William J. Shaw, immediate past president of the National Baptist Convention, USA; and Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, a professor of human rights and American foreign policy at Tufts and president and CEO of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.

Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. She served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See from 2008 to 2009. 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 International Academy of Comparative Law, and 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 is author of many articles and books, most recently, “The Forum and the Tower: How Scholars and Politicians Have Imagined the World, from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt” (Oxford University Press 2011) and has lectured widely in this country and in Europe.