Pelosi Appoints Indian-American To Agency Advocating Religious Freedom

January26th 2017 Leadership in government fellows shot at the Open society NY Headquarter. Anurima Bhargava. (Photo:

An Indian-American lawyer has been appointed to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom,  an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appointed Anurima Bhargava as a member of USCIRF, Dec. 13. Bhargava has served in the Justice Department and in advocacy organizations.

Born and raised in the south side of Chicago, Bhargava is currently founder and president of Anthem of Us, which describes itself as “a strategic advisory firm that works with educational institutions and corporations to promote dignity and justice for all.”

A graduate of Harvard University with a law degree from Columbia University, Bhargava is a civil rights lawyer with extensive experience in various roles advocating for members of underrepresented communities, including at the U.S. Justice Department and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, (NAACP) Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF).

The USCIRF is currently headed by a Tibetan-American Tenzin Dorjee, who was also put on the Commission by Pelosi back in 2016. He commended Pelosi for putting Bhargava on the Commission.

“With an impressive background and a demonstrated commitment to advocating for members of minority communities in the United States and abroad, Anurima Bhargava brings an important new perspective that will enhance the work of the Commission, especially on democratic India, with whom the United States has a long and proud relationship,” Dorjee said in a press release from USCIRF.

In addition to her work at the Department of Justice and the LDF, Bhargava served as a fellow at the Open Society Foundations and at Harvard University.

Before attending law school, Bhargava worked in India assisting women elected to local government. She has been a member of the Truman National Security Project and the Council on Foreign Relations.
At Open Society Foundation, Bhargava’s work focused on addressing the trauma that children experience after incidents of violence. She was a 2016-17 Senior Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Harvard Kennedy School and a Spring 2016 Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, where she led a university-wide study group on sexual assault and race, according to her biography on the Anthem Of Us website.

Bhargava has produced and regularly consults on films, and has both chaired and served on numerous boards, currently including Doc Society (fmr. BritDoc), Poverty Race Research Action Council, the Leadership Council to End Sexual Violence in Education, Broadway Advocacy Coalition and the Advisory Board for Public Service at Harvard University.

She is a 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholar.




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