Bahai News - FIRUZ KAZEMZADEH REAPPOINTED TO US COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
FIRUZ KAZEMZADEH REAPPOINTED TO US COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS
WASHINGTON, DC, United States, 16 June 2001 (BWNS) -- Firuz Kazemzadeh,
former Secretary for External Affairs of the National Spiritual Assembly
of the Baha'is of the United States, has been appointed to a second term
on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Dr. Kazemzadeh, a Professor Emeritus of History at Yale University, was
appointed by US Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle. His term lasts
until 14 May 2003. Dr. Kazemzadeh previously served on the Commission
from 15 May 1999 to 14 May 2001, acting as its vice chairman from 15 May
2000 to 14 May 2001. His first appointment was made by US President Bill
Created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the
nine-member Commission exists to monitor religious freedom in other
countries and to advise the President, the Secretary of State, and
Congress on how best to promote such freedom.
"I am pleased to have been appointed to a second term on the US
Commission for International Religious Freedom that defends an essential
human right that is only too frequently violated," said Dr. Kazemzadeh.
"The Commission's mandate to monitor the status of religious freedom
throughout the world and to advise the President and the Congress raises
the level of concern with religious freedom.
"The struggle for religious freedom, like the struggle for the abolition
of slavery or the exploitation of child labor will be a long and
difficult one, but the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights will triumph and the Commission will contribute to their
eventual triumph," Dr. Kazemzadeh said.
Dr. Kazemzadeh currently serves as a senior advisor to the National
Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States, the national
governing body for the U.S. Baha’i community, an institution on which
Dr. Kazemzadeh served for more than 35 years until his retirement last
During his tenure at Yale, which lasted from 1956 to 1992, Dr.
Kazemzadeh also served variously as Director of Graduate Studies in
Russian and Eastern European Studies; Chair of the Committee on Middle
Eastern Studies; Director of Graduate Studies in History; and Master of
He is the author of "The Struggle for Transcaucasia, 1917-1921," and
"Russia and Britain in Persia, 1864-1914," as well as the co-author of
several other books relating to Russia and Central Asia. Since 1966 he
has served as editor of World Order Magazine.
Dr. Kazemzadeh was born in the Iranian Embassy in Moscow, where his
father served for many years, came to the United States in 1944, and
received his academic training at Stanford University and Harvard
The US Congress passed the International Religious Freedom Act to
promote religious freedom as a U.S. foreign policy goal and to combat
religious persecution in other countries, according to the Commission's
The law created an Office of International Religious Freedom in the
State Department, headed by an Ambassador-at-Large. That office is
responsible for issuing a report on religious freedom and persecution in
all foreign countries by 1 September of each year. On the basis of that
report, the State Department designates "countries of particular
concern" on the basis of their "systematic, ongoing, and egregious"
violations of religious liberty.
The law identifies the wide range of diplomatic and economic tools that
the President can apply to those countries. To assist the President, the
law recommended creation of a special advisor on international religious
freedom as part of the National Security Council staff. The law also
created the Commission on International Religious Freedom and required
it to issue an annual report each 1 May. The Commission expires in May
Other Commissioners include prominent leaders of the Christian, Jewish,
and Muslim communities. More information about the Commission can be
found at its website at www.uscirf.gov.
©Copyright 2001, Baha'i World News Service
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