Thomas F Farr


Director, Religious Freedom Project and Associate Professor of the Practice of Religion and World Af


Faculty - SFS
General profile



+1 202-687-5185


Suite 200 3307 M Street NW

Office hours

By appointment


Thomas F. Farr is Associate Professor of the Practice of Religion and World 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 in West Point and served as Adjutant General of the Army’s Transportation Command in Europe.

Early in his Foreign Service career Dr. Farr specialized in strategic military policy and political affairs. During the Cold War he helped develop U.S. strategic nuclear policy, and was part of the U.S. negotiating team in the U.S.-Soviet arms control talks in Geneva. 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, as a member of the Chicago World Affairs Council’s Task Force on Religion and U.S. Foreign Policy, and as a member of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s Working Group on Religious Freedom.

Dr. Farr has testified on several occasions before the U.S. Congress and has spoken to a variety of audiences in the U.S. and abroad. He has addressed issues of religion and foreign policy at many government agencies, think tanks, and universities, including the Department of State, the Foreign Service Institute, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Defense University, the Congressional Task Force on Religious Freedom, the Library of Congress, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Heritage Foundation, the Federalist Society, Tufts, Princeton, Harvard, Georgetown, Drake University Law School, Brigham Young Law School, Oklahoma University Law School, the University of North Carolina, the University of Pennsylvania, Virginia Wesleyan College, the Catholic University of America, Wheaton College, and Mount St. Mary’s College. He recently delivered a major address to a semi-annual meeting of the American Catholic Bishops.

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, and in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, the Houston Journal of International Law, the Drake Law Review, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, First Things, the Weekly Standard, the National Review, America Magazine, Columbia Magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Review of Faith and International Affairs, and other outlets.

Farr has appeared on PBS, America Abroad, Book TV, Al Jazeera, Alhurra, EWTN, CBN, and many other media outlets. He has blogged for the Washington Post’s “On Faith,” the American Principles Project, The Public Discourse, and the John Templeton Foundations Big Questions Online. 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 Boards of Advisors of the John Templeton Foundation and the Alexander Hamilton Society, 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.