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Religious Freedom

Thomas F. Farr is President of the Religious Freedom Institute, an NGO committed to achieving worldwide acceptance of religious liberty as a fundamental human right, the cornerstone of a successful society, and a source of national and international security.

Farr is also Associate Professor of the Practice of Religion and International Affairs at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, and Director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown’s Berkley Center. He is a senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J, and a senior fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University.

A graduate of Mercer University, with a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina, Dr. Farr has served in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Foreign Service. He has taught history at the U.S. Military Academy and international relations at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He was a State Department advisor to the American delegation during U.S.-Soviet arms control talks in Geneva, and led an interagency task force to draft verification provisions for the START II Treaty.

Between 1999 and 2003 Farr was the founding director of the State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom. He has served as director of the Witherspoon Institute's Task Force on International Religious Freedom, a member of the Chicago World Affairs Council’s Task Force on Religion and U.S. Foreign Policy, and a member of the Secretary of State’s working group on International Religious Freedom, Democracy, and Stability. Farr teaches regularly at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute in Washington DC, and is currently a consultant to the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference.

Dr. Farr is a contributing editor for the Review of Faith and International Affairs and of Providence: A Journal of Christianity and Foreign Policy. His work has appeared in many edited volumes, law journals, magazines, and newspapers, including the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, First Things, America Magazine, New York Times, and the Washington Post. He has appeared on PBS, America Abroad, Book TV, Al Jazeera, Alhurra, Fox News, EWTN, CBN, and many radio outlets. His first book, World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Liberty is Vital to American National Security, was published by Oxford University Press.

Dr. Farr serves on the Administrative Board of Aid to the Church in Need; the Boards of Directors of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, Christian Solidarity Worldwide-USA, and the St. Veronica’s Rangers; and the Boards of Advisors of the Alexander Hamilton Society and the National Museum of American Religion. He has been recognized for lifetime contributions to religious freedom by the group In Defense of Christians, and is a recipient of the Jan Karski Wellspring of Freedom Award, presented by the Institute on Religion and Public Policy.

Dr. Farr’s wife, Margaret McPherson Farr, is a watercolor artist. They are Roman Catholics and have three daughters and ten grandchildren.