Mary Ann Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University and a former US ambassador to the Holy See who specializes in human rights, comparative law, and political theory. She has served on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom and the US President's Council on Bioethics. She previously served as president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, was a member of the Board of Supervisors of the Institute of Religious Works (Vatican Bank), and represented the Holy See at conferences including the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing, where she headed the Vatican delegation. Glendon was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991, and she received the National Humanities Medal in 2006.
Glendon has written a number of books including The Forum and the Tower (2011, Oxford University Press), a series of biographical essays exploring the relationship between political philosophy and politics; and A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (2016, Random House). She has also written textbooks on comparative legal traditions.