“Newsmaker: Appointment to Religious Freedom Commission,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 68
Michael K. Young, dean of the George Washington School of Law, was recently appointed by the United States Senate to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. At its first meeting in June he was elected vice chair. The commission, made up of representatives from many religious organizations, is advisory in nature and will provide recommendations for U.S. policy regarding international religious violations.
Prior to his current position with George Washington School of Law, Brother Young filled the Fuyo Professor of Japanese Law Chair at Columbia University Law School. While there, he was asked to co-direct Columbia’s program on human rights and international religious freedom at least in part because of his religious beliefs. “At the time it seemed an unlikely assignment for a law professor,” says Brother Young. “But it was in that position that I met religious advocates from all over the world.” The five-year post helped prepare him for his recent appointment. “That a Latter-day Saint was included on the commission is a reflection of the growing acceptance of the Church,” he says.
Brother Young, a former stake president and returned missionary from Japan, has held a number of government positions, including ambassador for trade and environmental affairs. “I feel honored to serve on this commission,” he says. “I hope to live up to the responsibility entrusted to us to identify religious persecution occurring in many countries and to help devise ways that the United States can effectively stop the abuses.” He and his wife, Suzan, have three children.