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Farah Pandith

Adjunct Senior Fellow

Council on Foreign Relations

Washington, US

Farah Pandith
Carlos Ortiz
David Panton
Navigation Capital Partners

Farah Pandith’s Biography

Farah Pandith is a renowned foreign policy expert, global strategist and diplomatic entrepreneur who has traveled to 80 countries. As a speaker and thought leader, she advises governments, companies and NGOs on a wide range of matters, including risk management, reputation management and strategic planning.

Farah has served as an advisor in the administrations of three US presidents. In 2009, she was appointed as the first Special Representative to Muslim Communities in the history of the US. Prior, she was a Senior Advisor to the Asst. Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs in the State Department after her time as Director for Middle East Regional Initiatives for the National Security Council.

Farah is currently an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School. In both roles she focuses on US foreign policy and is an advisor and author on counterterrorism strategies and initiatives. She is also a Strategic Advisor at the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a leading global think tank, and serves on its US Board. Prior, Farah was Chief of Staff for USAID’s Asia Near East Bureau and VP of International Business for ML Strategies, a government relations consultancy.

She is on the Board of Advisors of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, her alma mater. She also served on the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council and was a key architect of the Women in Public Service Project launched at the State Department by Hillary Clinton.

Farah has received many accolades and is often invited to share her expertise in interviews, conferences and speaking engagements. 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".

Farah’s Newsfeed

American Ambassadors
Go Big on Soft Power: A Smart Countering Violent Extremism Strategy

"Pushing his $1.9 trillion stimulus package through Congress, President Joseph Biden argued long and hard that the only way to defeat a deadly virus was to go big. Now, he has to go big on another infectious virus: the rising swell of hatred and violence that has ripped through regions as diverse as Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and North America, where the growing dark forces of hate and extremism led to the deadly January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol..."

Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
How Governments Can Still Win the Ideological War

In an incredibly detailed analysis of where we stand 20 years after 9/11, Farah Pandith, author of How We Win: How Cutting-Edge Entrepreneurs, Political Visionaries, Enlightened Business Leaders, and Social Media Mavens Can Defeat the Extremist Threat and Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, presents a way forward for the world's continuing fight against terrorist threats and extremism, with a focus on effective multilateral cooperation and whole-of-society approaches.

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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’s mission is to improve public policy and public leadership across the U.S. and globally, for people to lead safer, freer and more prosperous lives.
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Farah’s Gallery

Current Board Positions

Council Member
2020 - Present
New York, NY, USA
Exponent brings together the world’s most influential decision-makers to improve the global human condition through gender equality.
Anti-Defamation League & The Aspen Institute's Civil Society Fellowship
Advisory Committee
2019 - Present
New York, NY, USA
ADL is a leading anti-hate organization. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.
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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) was formed to develop a comprehensive and actionable blueprint on how to effectively combat the growing appeal of violent extremism within the United States and abroad.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Chair, Countering Violent Extremism Task Force & Member, Advisory Council
2015 - 2017
Washington, DC, USA
The Department of Homeland Security works to improve the security of the United States. The Department's work includes customs, border, and immigration enforcement, emergency response to natural and man-made disasters, anti-terrorism work, and cybersecurity.
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Muhammad Ali Center
Muhammad Ali Global Peace Laureate
Sep 2020 - Present
Louisville, KY, USA
The mission of the Muhammad Ali Center is to preserve and share the legacy and ideals of Muhammad Ali, to promote respect, hope, and understanding, and to inspire adults and children everywhere to be as great as they can be.
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.


sparks & honey | American Hate
Featured Guest
Mar 2021
New York, NY, USA
With years of experience tackling violent extremism, Farah Pandith opens our special briefing week with a breakdown of how extremism has accelerated in America. sparks & honey Chief Strategy Officer Camilo La Cruz and CEO-founder Terry Young discuss how Cultural Listening can quantify and minimize what's to come.
Fault Lines: Combating Extremism with Farah Pandith
Apr 2020
Washington, DC, USA
Fault Lines welcomes Farah Pandith, first-ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities, to discuss a range of issues, including the role young people have to play in countering extremism, where the world currently stands in the war on terror, and whether America has invested enough in soft power.
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Countering Violent Extremism: Three Moves Biden Should Make Now
Jan 2021
Washington, DC, USA
Farah Pandith, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and co-author Jacob Ware discuss a broad-based strategy that the US can implement to counter the growing threat of violent extremism at home and abroad. The brief presents three items the Biden administration can focus on: shrinking the pool of recruits; renewing partnerships; and empowering communities.
Biden Should...
Jan 2021
Washington, DC, USA
For 'Biden Should...' Washington Post Magazine asked writers from left, right, and center to offer creative ideas for the next president — not necessarily the obvious policy measures at the forefront of political discussion. Farah Pandith shared her ideas on how President Biden, and we as citizens, can develop a clear plan to repair civil society.
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Awards & Endorsements

Tufts University
Honorary Doctor of Laws
Medford, MA, USA
Tufts University presents honorary degrees to distinguished individuals that are leaders, innovators, and pioneers in their respective fields. This honor represents a unique and highly visible statement of Tufts University’s regard for each recipient.
Mount St. Mary's University logo Mount St. Mary's University logo
Mount St. Mary's University
Doctor of Humane Letters
Emmitsburg, MD, USA
Established in 1808, Mount St. Mary's University delivers education at the highest level, with service and experiential learning used to enhance and extend our classroom study.
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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

CFF Live with Farah Pandith
Featured Talk
Jan 2021
Farah Pandith, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, joins Valmiki 'Val' Mukherjee, Chairman & Founder of the Cyber Future Foundation, to share her expertise on fighting extremism. Notably, Farah outlines innovative approaches the entire cyberspace community and industry can embrace to meet some of their most pressing issues.
Discussion with Najah Al-Otaibi: Religious Education Reform in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Panel Member
Nov 2020
Farah Pandith, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, will join a panel at this event presented by the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies and Atlantic Council. The panel will discuss the development and implementation of policies aimed at reforming religious education in Saudi Arabia.
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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

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