“Politics as Vocation in Cicero and Burke”

Nov 1, 2011
Mandel Hall
1131 East 57th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Mary Ann GlendonHarvard Law School


Mary Ann Glendon
A.B., J.D., M.C.L., University of Chicago
Professor of Law, Harvard University Law School,
President, The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

On the occasion of the publication of her book The Forum and the Tower: How Scholars and Politicians Have Imagined the World, from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt

Co-sponsored by the Committee on Social Thought and the University of Chicago Law School

About the Book:
As Aristotle noted long ago, two very different and sometimes incompatible ways of life; the political and the philosophical exert a powerful pull on the ambitious and talented members of any society. Mary Ann Glendon, who teaches at Harvard Law School, says that she sees this double attraction in her students. Some go into politics, but many turn away, fearful of the compromises and corruptions of power. Such students may go on to become teachers and scholars, but they never quite give up on the idea of making a difference in the wider, public world, even if they aren't quite sure how to do it. Ms. Glendon's The Forum and the Tower profiles 12 figures in Western history who struggled not always successfully with the conflict between an active life and a contemplative one, between life in the public forum and life in the ivory tower.… The Forum and the Tower is a wise exploration of the eternal tension between action and thought.
Brian C. Anderson, The Wall Street Journal

Mary Ann Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law, emerita, at Harvard Law School. She writes and teaches in the fields of human rights, comparative law, constitutional law, and political theory. Glendon served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See from 2008 to 2009. She also chaired the U.S. State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights (2019-2020) and served as a member of the Commission on International Religious Freedom (2012-2016), and the U.S. President's Council on Bioethics (2001-2004). She received the National Humanities Medal in 2006, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991. In 1995, she was the Vatican representative to the international Beijing Conference on Women. She was President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences from 2003 to 2013, and a member of the Board of Supervisors of the Institute of Religious Works (Vatican Bank) from 2013 to 2018. She is author of many articles and books, including The Forum and the Tower: How Scholars and Politicians Have Imagined the World, from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt (2011) and has lectured widely across the United States and in Europe.