Felice Gaer directs AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights. Gaer is also Vice-Chairperson of the Committee against Torture, which reviews compliance with the Convention against Torture, a treaty ratified by 158 countries. The first American to serve on this official UN treaty body, Gaer was elected to an unprecedented fifth term in 2015. From 2001-2012, she served five terms on the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal commission that advises on U.S. policy to advance freedom of religion and belief worldwide. She served three times as Chair, and three times as Vice-Chair. In 2012, she was appointed to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. Gaer was Regents Professor at The University of California at Los Angeles in 2010. She chaired the steering committee for the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a coalition of over 100 organizations, and received the First Freedom Center’s National Religious Freedom Award in 2010. She has chaired the Leo Nevas Task Force on Human Rights of UNA-USA since 2012. In 2002 and again in 2003, she was cited in the Forward’s annual “Forward Fifty” list of Jewish leaders making a difference. Gaer was a public member of nine U.S. delegations to UN human rights negotiations, including the Beijing World Conference on Women (1995), the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights (1993), and the UN Commission on Human Rights. Gaer is a frequent lecturer and the author of more than 40 articles about human rights, women’s rights, the UN, non-governmental organizations, U.S. policy, and related issues. A graduate of Wellesley College, from which she received the Alumni Achievement Award in 1995, Gaer holds advanced degrees from Columbia University.
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