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Mary Ann Glendon

Mary Ann Glendon

Mary Ann Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law Emerita at Harvard University and a former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. She writes in the fields of human rights, comparative law, and political theory. She chaired the U.S. State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights (2019-2020) and served as a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (2012-2016), and the U.S. President's Council on Bioethics (2001-2004). She received the National Humanities Medal in 2006 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991.

She was President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences from 2003 to 2013, a member of the Board of Supervisors of the Institute of Religious Works (Vatican Bank) from 2013 to 2018, and represented the Holy See at various conferences including the 1995 U.N. Women's conference in Beijing where she headed the Vatican delegation. Professor 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; A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (2001), a history 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; and Abortion and Divorce in Western Law (1987), winner of the Scribes Book Award for best writing on a legal subject; and other books as well as textbooks on comparative legal traditions. She received her Bachelor of Arts, Juris Doctor, and Master of Comparative Law degrees from the University of Chicago.

THE FORUM AND THE TOWER: How Scholars and Politicians Have Imagined the World, from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt (Oxford University Press, 2011)

IN THE COURTS OF THREE POPES: An American Lawyer and Diplomat in the Last Absolute Monarchy of the West (Random House, 2024)

A NATION UNDER LAWYERS: How the Crisis in the Legal Profession Is Transforming American Society (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1994)

A WORLD MADE NEW: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Random House, 2001)