Nadine Maenza Elected as Chair of Bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Nury Turkel as Vice Chair

Jun 15, 2021

Nadine Maenza Elected as Chair of Bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Nury Turkel as Vice Chair

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today elected Nadine Maenza as its Chair to lead the Commission for 2021-2022. USCIRF Commissioners also elected Nury Turkel as its Vice Chair.

It is an honor to be elected as Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. I look forward to continuing the work alongside my fellow commissioners in support of freedom of religion and belief, a fundamental human right,” USCIRF Chair Maenza stated. “The Commission’s priority remains to unflinchingly identify threats to religious freedom around the world, and I am privileged to lead that charge.”

Chair Maenza was first appointed to the Commission in 2018 by then President Donald J. Trump and was reappointed in May 2020. She served as Vice Chair on the Commission in 2019-2020. Since starting in 2018, she has participated in many USCIRF-sponsored hearings, meetings, and delegations, including travels to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Burma, Bahrain, Indonesia, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Thailand, Taiwan, and Uzbekistan. Chair Maenza has testified before the U.S. Congress on international religious freedom and raised religious freedom concerns with foreign leaders. Chair Maenza is the President of Patriot Voices and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Global Engagement, the Sinjar Academy, and the Freedom Research Foundation.

Vice Chair Turkel was appointed to the Commission by House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in May 2020. Since his appointment, he was named one of the TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World and included in Fortune's List of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders. Vice Chair Turkel is a lawyer, foreign policy expert, and human rights advocate. He is the Chairman of the Board for the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Chair Maenza added, “I look forward to working more closely with Vice Chair Turkel in the coming year to promote religious freedom for all. As the world is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, I am also eager to meet in-person with U.S. government officials to urge implementation of USCIRF’s recommendations for U.S. policy. Together, the bipartisan Commission will work collectively with the White House, the State Department, and Congress to address the challenges ahead for freedom of religion or belief.

Also serving on the Commission are Anurima Bhargava, James W. Carr, Frederick A. Davie, and Tony Perkins.

Read the full Commissioner biographies here.

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The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at media@uscirf.gov.