WASHINGTON — The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan federal agency advising the Administration and Congress, has elected Michael Cromartie as chair to succeed Felice D. Gaer, who has served in this capacity since 2006. Preeta D. Bansal and Richard D. Land were elected Vice Chairs. The officers will serve for one year effective July 1.
Cromartie is Vice President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he directs the Evangelicals in Civic Life program and the Media and Religion program. Cromartie, who has served previously as Chair and Vice Chair of the Commission, is also a Senior Advisor to The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and a Senior Fellow with The Trinity Forum. President George W. Bush appointed him to the Commission.
The Commission was created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA) to monitor violations of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief abroad, as defined in IRFA and set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related international instruments, and to give independent policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress. It is the first government commission in the world with the sole mission of reviewing and making policy recommendations on the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom globally. Its Executive Director is Joseph R. Crapa; the Deputy Directors are Tad Stahnke and David Dettoni.