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Dr. Robert P. George Elected As USCIRF Chairman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 11, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, was elected on June 11, 2015 as Chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).  Dr. George was first appointed to the Commission in March 2012 by Speaker of the House John Boehner and reappointed to a second term in 2014. 

“I am honored to again serve as chair of USCIRF and work alongside my fellow commissioners in support of religious freedom and belief abroad,” said Dr. George. “World events underscore the importance of this fundamental freedom. Religious liberty is an essential human right and a key element in the quest for regional and global security. It deserves a seat at the table with economic and security concerns as the U.S. and other nations conduct their affairs.

“I also want to thank USCIRF’s immediate past-Chair, Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett and Vice Chair, Dr. James J. Zogby for their leadership and vision this past year.  I look forward to continuing our work together,” said Dr. George, who served as USCIRF Chairman in 2013 and USCIRF Vice–Chairman in 2014.

Dr. George also is the Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.  He has been a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, and is a Senior Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute. He has served on the President’s Council on Bioethics and as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He has also served on UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), of which he remains a corresponding member.

Also on June 11, two USCIRF Commissioners were elected Vice Chairs: Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser and Dean Eric P. Schwartz.  Dr. Jasser was appointed to the Commission by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2012 and reappointed to a second term in 2014.  President Barack Obama first appointed Eric Schwartz in 2013 and reappointed him to a second term in 2014.   

Dr. Jasser is the President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) based in Phoenix, Arizona and a respected physician currently in private practice specializing in internal medicine and nuclear cardiology.

Mr. Schwartz is the dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and served for 25 years in senior public service positions in government, at the United Nations, and in the philanthropic and non-governmental communities.

Also serving on the Commission are Mary Ann Glendon, Dr. Daniel I. Mark, Thomas J. Reese, Hannah Rosenthal, Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett and Dr. James P. Zogby.

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and House of Representatives.  USCIRF’s principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, contact USCIRF at media@uscirf.gov or 202-786-0613.