Melissa Grim is a Religious Freedom & Business Foundation Senior Research Fellow, assisting with global research, case studies, and press relations. Melissa is the chief author of a groundbreaking publication – BUSINESS: A Powerful Force for Interfaith Understanding and Peace. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave keynote address at the launch of this new, groundbreaking publication on Aug. 29, at UNAOC, Bali, Indonesia, during the side event organized by the Indonesia Global Compact Network (IGCN).
Melissa completed a degree in law (J.D.) at DePaul University’s College of Law, Chicago. She received a Masters in Theological Studies (MTS) from Boston University in 2010 and a B.A. degree in Philosophy from Penn State University in 2007. Prior to this, she studied classical ballet at the University of Oklahoma and earned a certificate of ballet pedagogy from the Royal Academy of Dance, London.
Melissa has extensive research experience, including legal research and a global analysis of constitutions at the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom, a non-profit law firm in Washington DC. She also managed the Becket Fund’s daily domestic and international religious freedom news analyses. She also worked extensively on global religious freedom research projects at Penn State University’s Association of Religion Data Archives.
Beyond her legal, social scientific and academic research skills, Melissa has extensive workplace and customer service skills. While at the Becket Fund, she was in charge of all computer and technical issues for the summer of 2008. And from 2010 until 2012, Melissa was the Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the School of Philosophy at Catholic University. She was in charge of assisting the Dean with maintaining professor and student academic schedules, which required interfacing and negotiating with numerous departments, and problem-solving when schedule clashes occurred. She also managed budgeting and account management for the School of Philosophy and was in charge of managing and hosting its fall lecture series. This included arranging visiting professor’s travel plans and housing during the lecture, greeting the visiting professors upon arrival, and managing event logistics.
Melissa was born and raised overseas, which provided her a rich religious and cultural experience. She was born in China when the government had just begun to allow US citizens back to work in the country following the Cultural Revolution. She also lived in Kazakhstan, where she was a childhood celebrity, in part for being the first American to study in a Kazakh elementary school. She also lived and went to local schools in Germany, Saudi Arabia, Malta and the United Arab Emirates, through which she learned to appreciate religious and cultural diversity. It is through the lens of this unique upbringing that she approaches every task ahead of her.