Kit Bigelow offers her experience in human rights, religious freedom, and women’s rights as an advisor, consultant and mentor to organizations and individuals. She specializes in 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, Ms. Bigelow had overall management responsibility for the functioning of the Washington-based Office of External Affairs (now known as the Office of Public Affairs), as well as the New York Office of the U.S. Bahá’í Representative to the UN, and the Bahá’í Refugee Office and Office of Public Information until their integration into other agencies of the National Spiritual Assembly. She retired in 2010.
Her areas of focus were human rights, religious freedom, the advancement of women, refugee affairs, media relations, and UN matters.
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 with other nongovernmental organizations, at the White House, the State Department, the Congress, and the United Nations.
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 before Congress on the oppression of the Bahá’ís in Iran and in Egypt, as well as other religious freedom issues.
For eight years, she was the co-chair of 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 Convention Against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Racial Discrimination.
She was the representative for the Bahá’ís of the U.S. at the 1993 UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna and the 1995 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.
Ms. Bigelow serves on the advisory boards of the Religious Freedom Institute and the National Museum of American Religion. In 2018, she was on a panel on “International Religious Freedom and Women’s Rights” at the first State Department Ministerial on International Religious Freedom.
She serves also on the advisory boards of the Center for Women, Faith & Leadership of the Institute for Global Engagement, and of the Mona Foundation. For twenty years, she served on the executive committee, the Women in International Law Interest Group, of the American Society of International Law, during which time she was its co-chair for three years. She is also a member of the Women’s Foreign Policy Group and of the Women in International Security.
Ms. Bigelow was co-founder and co-chair of the Washington-based Working Group on the Human Rights of Women. She was a founder and treasurer of the board of directors of U.S. Women Connect, which implemented the UN Fourth World Conference on Women Platform for Action and the U.S. Women’s National Action Agenda. She has also served on the board of directors of Citizens for Global Solutions, as well as on the board of directors of WATEO, the Women and Environment Organization, operating in Iraq.
Ms. Bigelow received the 2014 InterFaith Bridge Builders’ Award from the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington. In 2011, she received the National Award from the International Religious Liberty Association. 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.