VATICAN CITY, MARCH 9, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II has appointed Harvard Law School professor Mary Ann Glendon president of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences.
Glendon was the first woman to head a Holy See delegation to the World Conference on Woman, organized by the United Nations in Beijing in 1995.
Born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on Oct. 7, 1938, Glendon is married and has three daughters.
She has taught law at Boston University and was a visiting professor at the University of Chicago and at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome.
She has been a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences since Jan. 19, 1994, the year of its foundation.
John Paul II established the academy with the document “Socialum Scientiarum.” Its objective, says Article 1 of its statutes, is “to promote the study and progress of social, economic, political and juridical sciences in the light of the social doctrine of the Church.”
The academy is autonomous and at the same time, maintains a close relationship with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, with which it coordinates various initiatives.
The Pope names the 20 to 40 members who comprise the academy. Currently, they come from 24 countries, without distinction to religious denomination.
Glendon has carried out research in bioethics, human rights, comparative constitutional law of the United States and Europe, and the theory of law.
She is a member of U.S. President George W. Bush’s Council on Bioethics.
Glendon is replacing Edmond Malinvaud, of the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies of Paris.
She is the second woman appointed by the Holy Father as president of a pontifical academy. Italian Letizia Pani Ermini was appointed head of the Roman Pontifical Academy of Archaeology last May.