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Farah Pandith

Adjunct Senior Fellow

Council on Foreign Relations

Washington, US

Farah Pandith
Katharina Otto-Bernstein
Film Manufacturers Inc.
David Panton
Navigation Capital Partners

Farah Pandith’s Biography

Farah Pandith is a renowned foreign policy expert, diplomatic entrepreneur and global strategist 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, strategic planning and reputation management.

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. She previously served as a Sr. 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.

Currently, she is 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 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

The Economist
Farah Pandith on the success and sorrow of American Muslims

Farah Pandith discusses the impact of how Americans have viewed Muslim people in the wake of 9/11, and the reactions of Muslims following these shifting perspectives.

New York Times
Muslim Americans’ ‘Seismic Change’

Farah Pandith is quoted in this article discussing the impact the events of 9/11 had on America as a country.

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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.


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 Pandith encourages addressing hate across personal, political and work spaces to combat extremists and the "Us VS. Them" mentality.
Sep 2021
Farah Pandith 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.
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How 9/11 Changed TV, Art, Sports, Education...
Sep 2021
In this article for the Washington Post, Farah Pandith discusses the impact the events of 9/11 had on Muslim people as the public began to regard them differently, and how, 20 years later, opinions have begun to shift once more.
The world was changed by bin Laden’s horrific plan
Sep 2021
Farah Pandith examines the long-lasting effects of the 9/11 attacks and discusses how the events shaped international relations, modern policy-makers and human experiences.
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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

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

Social Realities of Indian Americans: Findings From the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey
Featured Speaker
Jun 2021
Farah Pandith joined a panel of leading experts in this discussion co-hosted by Carnegie and The Asian American Foundation (TAAF). The talk focused on a new study on the Indian American community, which draws on the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey (IAAS).
Nationalism Around the World
May 2021
Farah Pandith served as a presider for this panel at the Conference on Diversity in International Affairs 2021 presented by the Council of Foreign Relations. The panel focused on the rise of global nationalism and nationalist movements and their effects on marginalized populations who are often excluded from a popular national identity.
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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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