Kit Bigelow uses her experience in human rights, women’s rights, and religious freedom as an advisor, consultant and mentor to organizations, businesses and individuals. She specializes in not-for-profit management, government relations, international affairs, issue advocacy and campaigns, network/coalition building and leadership, and related strategic communications challenges.
As director of external affairs for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the U.S. for twenty-five years, Kit Bigelow had overall responsibility for the functioning of the Washington-based Office of External Affairs and the New York Office of the U.S. Bahá’í Representative to the UN, as well as the Bahá’í Refugee Office and the Office of Public Information until their integration into other agencies of the National Assembly.
She represented the National Spiritual Assembly in the promotion and protection of human rights, including religious freedom, the advancement of the rights of women, U.S. ratification of UN human rights treaties, and the elimination of racism. She advocated on these issues, often in collaboration with other organizations, at the White House, the State Department, the Congress, the UN, and to the media.
She was responsible for informing the U.S. government and U.S. national news media about the persecution of the Bahá’í communities in Iran and other Muslim countries. She testified in numerous hearings and briefings on the oppression of the Bahá’ís in Iran and in Egypt, religious freedom, women’s rights, and ratification by the U.S. of UN human rights treaties.
She retired from the position in 2010.
Ms. Bigelow serves on the Advisory Council of the Center for Women, Faith & Leadership at the Institute for Global Engagement. She also serves on the Board of Directors of GlobalSolutions.org and on the executive steering committee of the Women in International Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law and has served as its co-chair. She is a member of the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, and the Women in International Security.
Ms. Bigelow received the 2014 InterFaith Bridge Builders’ Award from the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington and the 2011 National Award from the International Religious Liberty Association.
She co-chaired the national Working Group for U.S. Ratification of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). She was actively involved in U.S. ratification of the UN Genocide Convention, the UN Convention Against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the UN Convention Against Racial Discrimination.
She was the representative for the Bahá’ís of the U.S. at the UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna and the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. In March 2000, she served as a public sector adviser on the U.S. government delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
She was co-founder and co-chair of the Washington-based Working Group on the Human Rights of Women. She was also a founder and treasurer of the board of directors of U.S. Women Connect, which implements the Platform for Action and the U.S. Women’s National Action Agenda.
She served on the board of directors of WATEO, the Women and Environment Organization, operating in Iraq. She also served on the boards of the International Development Conference, a U.S. educational coalition on development issues, and of the Global Tomorrow Coalition, an organization that promoted sustainable development.
She has spoken and published on human rights, religious freedom, international law, and the UN system, including at Harvard University and Law School, the University of Notre Dame, American University and Miami University. Her article, “A Campaign to Deter Genocide: The Bahá’í Experience,” was published in Genocide Watch by Yale University Press.
Ms. Bigelow received her degree at Smith College where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She holds an MBA in international business from Georgetown University. Before her work for the National Spiritual Assembly, she held professional positions in both the public and private sectors in financial management and economic development.