Thomas F. Farr

Thomas F. Farr
Thomas F. Farr
Associate Professor of the Practice of Religion and World Affairs

Associate Professor of the Practice of Religion and World Affairs 

Director, Religious Freedom Project

Thomas F. Farr is Visiting Associate Professor of Religion and International Affairs at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. He directs the Religious Freedom Project and the Program on Religion and US Foreign Policy at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, where he is a senior fellow. He is also a senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J.

A graduate of Mercer University, with a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina, Dr. Farr has served in both the U.S. Army and the American Foreign Service. As an Army officer he taught history at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, and served as Adjutant General of the Army’s Transportation Command in Europe. As a diplomat, Farr specialized in strategic nuclear policy and arms control. He participated in US-Soviet arms control talks in Geneva and led an interagency task force to draft verification provisions for the START II Treaty. He also taught international relations at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

In 1999 Farr became the first director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, in which capacity he led American diplomatic efforts to promote religious liberty. 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 Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s Working Group on Religious Freedom. He is currently a consultant to the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference.

Dr. Farr has testified on several occasions before the U.S. Congress and addressed the conference of American Roman Catholic Bishops. He has spoken on religion and foreign policy at government agencies, universities, law schools, think tanks, and gatherings of religious groups here and abroad. He teaches regularly at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute in Washington DC.

Farr is a contributing editor for the Review of Faith and International Affairs and has published widely on religious freedom and its implications. 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, Houston Journal of International Law, Drake Law Review, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, First Things, Weekly Standard, National Review, America Magazine, National Interest, New York Times, Washington Post, and many others.

Farr 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. His second (with Dennis Hoover), The Future of U.S. International Religious Freedom Policy: Recommendations for the Obama Administration, was published by the Berkley Center.

Dr. Farr serves on the Board of Trustees of the First Freedom Center, the Board of Advisors of the Alexander Hamilton Society, the Administrative Board of Aid to the Church in Need, and the Boards of Directors of the Institute on Religion and Democracy and Christian Solidarity Worldwide-USA. He is a recipient of the Jan Karski Wellspring of Freedom Award, presented by the Institute on Religion and Public Policy for contributions to religious freedom. His wife, Margaret McPherson Farr, is a watercolor artist. They are Roman Catholics and have three daughters and nine grandchildren.

Areas of Expertise:  Arms Control, Cultural Diplomacy, European Politics and Culture, Geopolitics, Human Rights, International Relations, International Security, Muslim-Christian Relations, Religion, Religion and Politics, Secularism, Terrorism/Counter Terrorism, US Foreign Policy, US National Security

  • Ph.D. (1983) Modern British and European History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • M.A (1973), Modern British and European History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 
  • B.A. (1970, History, Mercer University, Macon, Georgia


A Global Crisis of Religious Liberty: Evidence, Origins, and Significance
June 20, 2014

Our Failed Religious Freedom Policy
November 1, 2013

Examining the Government’s Record on Implementing the International Religious Freedom Act
June 13, 2013

Of Down Syndrome and Violence: Religious Freedom and US Foreign Policy
September 13, 2012

Religious Freedom Under the Gun
July 9, 2012

The Church and the Global Crisis of Religious Liberty
June 13, 2012

Rising Threats to American Religious Freedom: Framing the Problem
May 24, 2012

Jefferson’s Other Wall: Addressing The Global Crisis in Religious Liberty
May 4, 2012

The Intellectual Sources of Diplomacy’s Religion Deficit
March 21, 2012

Religious Freedom Abroad
March 6, 2012

Canadian International Council Interviews RFP Director Tom Farr
February 23, 2012

Knights of Columbus Interviews RFP Director Tom Farr on the Crisis of Religious Freedom
February 3, 2012

Religion and Foreign Affairs: Essential Readings
January 1, 2012

U.S. Legal Imperialism? The Global Projection of U.S. Legal Norms
October 27, 2011

Riding the Dragon: China and Religious Freedom
October 13, 2011

Thomas Farr Reviews The Price of Freedom Denied: Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century
September 27, 2011

The 9/11 Collection: Tom Farr on Engaging Islam
September 12, 2011

The Trouble with American Foreign Policy and Islam
July 8, 2011

Bringing Religion into International Religious Freedom Policy
July 1, 2011

Journal of Church and State Reviews Book God and Global Order, an Edited Volume with Contributions from RFP Director Tom Farr and Associate Scholar Dan Philpott
June 20, 2011

LISTEN IN: Tom Farr Podcasts on Religion, Religious Liberty, and US Diplomacy
June 14, 2011

Prioritizing International Religious Freedom in US Foreign Policy
June 3, 2011

A Freedom Deferred: Why religious liberty schould be a U.S. foreign policy priority
July 19, 2010

Obama administration sidelines religious freedom policy
June 25, 2010

Undefender of the Faith
April 5, 2010

U.S. International Religious Freedom Policy: the Outlook for 2010
February 3, 2010

Religious Liberties: The International Religious Freedom Act: Proceedings of the Federalist Society’s Annual Convention
June 22, 2009

The Bush Administration and America’s International Religious Freedom Policy
June 1, 2009

The Widow’s Torment: International Religious Freedom and American National Security in the 21st Century
June 1, 2009

The Future of U.S. International Religious Freedom Policy: Recommendations for the Obama Administration
March 10, 2009

World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Liberty Is Vital to American National Security
November 7, 2008

Islam’s Way to Freedom
November 1, 2008

“Diplomacy in an Age of Faith: Religious Freedom and National Security”
March 1, 2008

Dignitatis Humanae and Religious Freedom in American Foreign Policy: A Practitioner’s Perspective
October 15, 2007

Report of the Symposium on Islam, Constitutions, & Durable Democracy: The Cases of Iraq & Afghanistan
September 11, 2007

Islamism and the American Freedom Agenda
April 12, 2007

Retooling the Middle Eastern Freedom Agenda: Engaging Islam
September 1, 2006

The Diplomacy of Religious Freedom
May 1, 2006

Religious Realism in Foreign Policy: Lessons from Vatican II
January 1, 2006

Public Religion, Secretary Rice, and U.S. Foreign Policy
April 1, 2005

“First Freedoms: An Interview with Thomas Farr”
January 1, 2004

Overcoming the Cyprus Tragedy: Let Cypriots be Cypriot
September 1, 1997