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Farah Pandith

Adjunct Senior Fellow

Council on Foreign Relations

Washington, US

Farah Pandith
Bjørnulf Østvik
Ecogensus
Tim Parker
National Trust

Farah’s Biography

Farah Pandith is a prominent thought leader with a focus on diversity and equality, geopolitics and international relations. She holds a wealth of experience as a foreign policy expert and global strategist who has held roles with government agencies, think tanks and public and private entities.

Currently, Farah is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. In these roles, Farah provides in-depth research on foreign policy and analyzes how culture and international relations impact global events.

Farah was a key architect for the Women in Public Service Project, which seeks to close the gender gap in policy and political leadership positions. She continues to serve on the boards of organizations focused on inclusion and diversity, including the Anti-Defamation League & The Aspen Institute's Civil Society Fellowship and the We Are Family Foundation. She was also honored as a Global Peace Laureate by the Muhammad Ali Center.

Her...
Farah Pandith is a prominent thought leader with a focus on diversity and equality, geopolitics and international relations. She holds a wealth of experience as a foreign policy expert and global strategist who has held roles with government agencies, think tanks and public and private entities.

Currently, Farah is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. In these roles, Farah provides in-depth research on foreign policy and analyzes how culture and international relations impact global events.

Farah was a key architect for the Women in Public Service Project, which seeks to close the gender gap in policy and political leadership positions. She continues to serve on the boards of organizations focused on inclusion and diversity, including the Anti-Defamation League & The Aspen Institute's Civil Society Fellowship and the We Are Family Foundation. She was also honored as a Global Peace Laureate by the Muhammad Ali Center.

Her status as an authority on framing global crises stems from her unique background serving as an advisor for three US presidential administrations, including her appointment as the first Special Representative to Muslim Communities in the history of the US. Prior, Farah served as a Sr. Advisor to the Asst. Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs in the State Department and as Director for Middle East Regional Initiatives for the National Security Council.

As a leading voice in cultural intelligence as it relates to foreign policy and international relations, Farah is a sought-after speaker and has received many accolades for her insights and perspective on global issues. In 2019, she published her acclaimed book, “How We Win: How Cutting-Edge Entrepreneurs, Political Visionaries, Enlightened Business Leaders, and Social Media Mavens Can Defeat the Extremist Threat.”
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Farah’s Newsfeed

Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps Welcomes Three New Board Directors

Mercy Corps’ Board of Directors ensures the nonprofit organization adheres to its charitable purposes and mission, guides major strategic decisions and policies, and provides accountability and proper management.

Lawfare
Women and Children to the Front

Farah Pandith and co-author, Jacob Ware, argue that women and children, who are typically portrayed as victims, are playing important roles in terrorist movements today and that counterterrorism needs to adapt accordingly.

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Farah’s Background

Council on Foreign Relations
Adjunct Senior Fellow
Dec 2014 - Present
New York, NY, USA
Founded in 1921, the Council on Foreign Relations is a non-profit organization that specializes in US foreign policy and international affairs.
Harvard Kennedy School
Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project
Dec 2014 - Present
Cambridge, MA, USA
Harvard Kennedy School shapes the future of public policy through first-class research and instruction. The institution offers a range of degrees in a variety of subjects including international affairs, politics and economics.
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Farah’s Gallery

Current Board Positions

Mercy Corps
Board of Directors
Nov 2022 - Present
Edinburgh, UK
Mercy Corps is a collaborator, catalyst and an advocate for change. For 40 years and in more than 40 countries, the organization has helped communities forge new paths to prosperity in the face of disaster, poverty and the impacts of climate change.
The Asian American Foundation
Advisory Council
May 2021 - Present
The Asian American Foundation seeks to create better opportunities for those of Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage by offering events and promoting equality.
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Previous Board Positions

CSIS Commission on Countering Violent Extremism
Commissioner and Strategic Advisor
Washington, DC, USA
The CSIS Commission on Countering Violent Extremism, CVE, examines and analyzes the best practices for combating the growth of violent extremism at home and abroad.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Chair, Countering Violent Extremism Task Force and Member, Advisory Council
2015 - 2017
Washington, DC, USA
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security works towards improving the nation's security through measures in regards to immigration, customs, anti-terrorism work and other areas of improvement.
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Philanthropy

Muhammad Ali Center
Muhammad Ali Global Peace Laureate
Sep 2020 - Present
Louisville, KY, USA
The Muhammad Ali Center seeks to continue Muhammad Ali's ideals of encouraging all people to be the best that they can be through fundraising events and community programs.
We Are Family Foundation logo We Are Family Foundation logo
We Are Family Foundation
Board of Directors
2014 - Present
New York, NY, USA
The We Are Family Foundation was founded by musician, Nile Rodgers, with the vision to create a global family by encouraging and supporting diversity around the world.

Media

Muslim Americans’ ‘Seismic Change’
Quoted
Sep 2021
Farah is quoted in this article for the New York Times discussing the “seismic change” felt by American Muslims following the attacks that took place on 9/11.
US Troops Are Finally Leaving, But Afghan Women Fear the Taliban's Return
Quoted
Apr 2021
New York, NY, USA
Farah is quoted in this article that covers President Biden's recent announcement of a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and the effects that will have on the female community. “It is unlikely that the Taliban will choose a path that gives women much agency,” says Pandith.
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Interviews

The Burn Bag Podcast – Dissecting National Security and Foreign Policy
Nov 2021
Farah joins The Burn Bag Podcast to discuss her experiences engaging with Muslim communities, how to combat violent terrorism and how Muslim people and their identities are affected by the surrounding environment in the US and abroad.
How Sept. 11 became a watershed moment for US policies at home and abroad
Sep 2021
Drawing upon her experience serving in several administrations, Farah encourages addressing hate across personal, political and work spaces to combat extremists and the "Us VS. Them" mentality.
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Publications

Domestic Terrorist Plots Against the U.S. Government: How Serious is the Threat?
Co-Author
Mar 2021
Farah, in this article for the Belfer Center, speaks on how America, as a nation, can continue to change current radical ideology and environment to dissuade extremism and violence in the future.
What Does the Taliban Takeover Mean for Afghanistan and the Region?
Co-Author
Aug 2021
In this article published by the Belfer Center, Farah examines the ramifications of takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
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Memberships

National Security and Defense Program
Program Expert
Washington, DC, USA
In the midst of international conflict, the National Security and Defense Program at the Council on Foreign Relations seeks to advise leaders and citizens about the possible threats facing the nation.

Awards & Endorsements

James Madison Award for Public Good
Recipient
Apr 2022
Farah was named as the 2022 recipient of theJames Madison Award for Public Good after giving a talk at the Madison Vision Series about how to combat hate and terror in the world.
Tufts University
Honorary Doctor of Laws
2018
Medford, MA, USA
Farah received an honorary LL.D. for her various career achievements.
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Academic Appointments

Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics
Spring Fellow
Feb 2014 - Jun 2014
Cambridge, MA, USA
The Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics is a division of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The institute connects academia with politics and public affairs in order to promote and improve public service for the benefit of society.

Speaking Engagements

The State of the State Department & Public Diplomacy
Featured Speaker
Jun 2022
Boston, MA, USA
Presented by WorldBoston, the annual State of the State Department program focuses on Public Diplomacy, and its relevance in a time of global challenges to democracy.
The Future of US-Asia Relations: Building Balanced Engagements Amid Global Transformations
May 2022
As part of the Milken Institute's 2022 Global Conference, Farah was a featured speaker for a panel titled "The Future of US-Asia Relations: Building Balanced Engagements Amid Global Transformations."
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Farah’s Education

The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy | Tufts University
Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy | M.A.L.D
1993 - 1995
Smith College
Bachelor of Arts | Government and Psychology
1986 - 1990