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Princeton professor elected chairman of U.S. religious freedom commission

WASHINGTON — Robert P. George, Princeton University's McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, was elected as chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom on June 11.

“World events underscore the importance of this fundamental freedom," George said in a statement. "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."

USCIRF commissioners monitor religious freedom violations across the world and make federal policy recommendations. The president, along with Senate and House leadership, appoints commissioners to the independent, bipartisan, commission.

House Speaker John Boehner appointed George to the commission in March 2012; George was reappointed for a second term in 2014. He served as chairman in 2013 and vice chairman in 2014.

George is the director of Princeton's James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He is a senior fellow of the Witherspoon Institute and was a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. Prior government service includes acting as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and serving on the President's Council on Bioethics.

George was also part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology, and is still a corresponding member of the group. He also serves on the Deseret News Editorial Advisory Board.

M. Zuhdi Jasser and Eric P. Schwartz were elected as vice chairmen of the Commission.

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