Mary Ann Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University, and a former United States Ambassador to the Holy See.
She writes and teaches in the fields of human rights, comparative law, constitutional law, and legal theory. Among her books there is A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the story of Mrs. Roosevelt’s proudest achievement: the framing of the U.N.’s declaration of rights so basic that they belong to everyone on earth simply by virtue of being human.
In 1988, Glendon won the Scribes Book Award given by the American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects for Abortion and Divorce in Western Law, a comparative study that was featured in Bill Moyers' "World of Ideas" series. Another comparative study, The Transformation of Family Law, won the Legal Academy's highest award, the Order of the Coif Triennial Book Award in 1993. In 1991, she was elected President of the UNESCO sponsored International Association of Legal Science.
In 1994, she was appointed by Pope John Paul II to the newly created Pontifical Academy of Social Science. In 1995, she headed the 22-member delegation of the Holy See to the Fourth U.N. Women's Conference in Beijing.
Glendon's books, bringing a comparative approach to a variety of subjects, include A Nation Under Lawyers (1996), a portrait of turbulence in the legal profession, analyzing the implications of recent changes in legal culture for a democratic polity that entrusts crucial roles to legally trained men and women; Seedbeds of Virtue (co-edited with David Blankenhorn) (1995), Rights Talk (1991), The Transformation of Family Law (1989), Abortion and Divorce in Western Law (1987), The New Family and the New Property (1981), and textbooks on comparative legal traditions.
She has received honorary doctorates from numerous universities including the Universities of Chicago and Louvain. Professor Glendon taught at Boston College Law School from 1968 to 1986, and has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School and the Gregorian University in Rome.
She received her Bachelor of Arts, Juris Doctor, and master of comparative law degrees from the University of Chicago. During a two-year post-graduate fellowship for the study of European law, Professor Glendon studied at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and was a legal intern with the European Economic Community. From 1963 to 1968, she practiced law with the Chicago firm of Mayer, Brown & Platt, and served as a volunteer civil rights attorney.
A native of Berkshire County, MA, she lives with her husband, Edward R. Lev, in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. They have three daughters.