As more governments and societies recognize religion’s influence on global affairs, and witness the devastating effects of religious persecution and religion-related terrorism, they have begun to see the value of promoting religious freedom in their respective foreign policies. In order to succeed, however, they must develop effective strategies, train their diplomats, and provide the necessary authority and resources. The RFI will drive strategic thinking on the value of religious freedom in foreign policy. It will work with governments and civil society to put these ideas into policy and practice.

Director: Thomas Farr
Members: Todd Huizinga, Andrew Bennett, and William Saunders



Director: Thomas Farr

Tom Farr is President of the Religious Freedom Institute, an NGO working to achieve worldwide acceptance of religious freedom.Tom served in the U.S. Army and Foreign Service for 28 years. He has spent the last two decades advocating for religious liberty, including as founding Director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom and as Director of Georgetown’s Religious Freedom Research Project. The arguments Tom made in his 2008 book, World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Freedom is Vital to American National Security (Oxford), have shaped legislation introduced in the Congress in 2016. Tom is Associate Professor of the Practice of Religion and International Affairs at Georgetown’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. His Ph.D. is from the University of North Carolina.