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Commission Elects Dean Michael K. Young Chairman

September 24, 2001

Lawrence J. Goodrich, Communications Director, (202) 523-3240, ext. 27

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom today announced the election of Dean Michael K. Young of George Washington University Law School as Chairman for the term to end in May 2002.

Commissioner Young served as the Commission's Vice Chairman from June 1999 to June 2000. He joined the George Washington University Law School as Dean in 1998 after serving as the Fuyo Professor of Japanese Law and Legal Institutions at the School of Law of Columbia University. He also served as Director of the Center for Japanese Legal Studies, the Center for Korean Legal Studies, and the Project on Religion, Rights, and Religious Freedom at Columbia University. During the administration of President George Bush, he served as Ambassador for Trade and Environmental Affairs, Deputy Under Secretary for Economic and Agricultural Affairs, and Deputy Legal Adviser to the U.S. Department of State. Commissioner Young is now serving his second term on the Commission.

Commissioners Felice Gaer, director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights of the American Jewish Committee, and Charles R. Stith, former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania and director of the African Presidential Archives and Research Center at Boston University, were elected to serve with Chairman Young on an executive committee.

Also serving as Commissioners are Firuz Kazemzadeh, senior advisor, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States; Richard Land, president and CEO of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention; Bishop William F. Murphy, bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y.; Leila Nadya Sadat, professor of law, Washington University School of Law, St. Louis, Mo.; Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom, Freedom House; and The Hon. Shirin R. Tahir-Kheli, director of the South Asia Program of the Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. All Commissioners' terms expire May 14, 2003.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom was created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to monitor the status of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief abroad, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related international instruments, and to give independent policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and the Congress." src="https://www.uscirf.org/images/layout/subbottomtext1.gif" />

Michael K. Young,Chair
  • Felice D. GaerFiruz KazemzadehRichard D. LandBishop William Francis MurphyLeila Nadya SadatNina SheaThe Hon. Charles R. StithThe Hon. Shirin Tahir-KheliSteven T. McFarland,Executive Director