Thomas Farr, President
3 TF (1).jpg

Thomas Farr, President

Tom Farr is President of the Religious Freedom Institute, an NGO working to achieve worldwide acceptance of religious freedom. Farr served in the U.S. Army and Foreign Service for 28 years. He has spent the last two decades advocating for religious liberty, including as founding Director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom and from 2008-2018 as Associate Professor of the Practice of Religion and International Affairs at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and also as Director of Georgetown’s Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center. Farr is a senior fellow at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion and a consultant to the U.S. Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace. Arguments from his 2008 book, World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Freedom is Vital to American National Security (Oxford University Press), have shaped U.S. religious freedom legislation and foreign policy. More

Kent R. Hill, Executive Director

Kent R. Hill, Executive Director

Kent Hill joined the RFI after six years as Senior Vice President at World Vision, one of the largest faith-based relief and development organizations in the world. He also served for eight years as Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), responsible for U.S. foreign assistance to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and, subsequently, all USAID health programs worldwide. Earlier in his career, Dr. Hill was President of Eastern Nazarene College, and President of D.C.'s Institute on Religion and Democracy. In 2010, as a Vice President at the John Templeton Foundation, Hill, along with Tom Farr, conceived Georgetown's Religious Freedom Project and secured funding to launch the project. Dr. Hill has published a book on Christianity and the Soviet Union. His Ph.D. is from the University of Washington. More

 

 

Byron R. Johnson, Senior Fellow

Dr. Byron Johnson is Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University. He is the founding director of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) as well as director of the Program on Prosocial Behavior. Professor Johnson is a leading authority on the scientific study of religion, the efficacy of faith-based organizations, and criminal justice. His most recent publications have examined the impact of faith-based programs on recidivism reduction and prisoner reentry. Before joining the faculty at Baylor University, Johnson directed research centers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Pennsylvania. He has directed grant projects from private foundations as well as the Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, and the United States Institute for Peace. More

 
Tim Shah.png

Timothy Samuel Shah, Senior Fellow

Timothy Samuel Shah is Senior Fellow and Director of the South and Southeast Asia Action Team with the Religious Freedom Institute and as such is based in Bangalore, India, and serves as non-resident Research Professor of Government at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion. Until mid-2018, he served as Director for International Research at the Religious Freedom Research Project at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Shah is author and editor of numerous books, including, Even if There is No God: Hugo Grotius and the Secular Foundations of Modern Political Liberalism (Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2019); Religious Freedom: Why Now? Defending an Embattled Human Right (Witherspoon Institute, 2012); and, with Monica Duffy Toft and Daniel Philpott, God’s Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics (W.W. Norton and Company, 2011). His articles on religion, religious freedom, and global politics, in history and in the contemporary world, have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Journal of Law and Religion, the Journal of Democracy, the Review of Politics, Fides et Historia, and elsewhere. More

 

Rebecca Samuel Shah, Senior Fellow

Rebecca Samuel Shah is Senior Fellow of the Religious Freedom Institute and Associate Director of RFI’s South and Southeast Asia Action Team. A pioneering scholar of the impact of religious belief and practice on the social and economic lives of poor women in the Global South, Shah currently serves as Research Professor at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, where she is the Principal Investigator for the Religion and Economic Empowerment Project (REEP), funded by the Templeton Religion Trust. Born and raised in Bangalore, India, she holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics and Economic History and a Master’s of Science in Demography, both from the London School of Economics. She is also an associate scholar with Georgetown’s Religious Freedom Project, and is Project Leader of the Holy Avarice Project on religion and modern capitalism at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs. From 1998 to 2002, Shah served as a Research Analyst with the World Bank’s Human Development Network. More