Thomas Farr, President
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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

Eric Patterson, Executive Vice President

eric patterson, Executive vice president

Eric Patterson, Ph.D. serves as Executive Vice President of the Religious Freedom Institute.  Patterson is scholar-at-large and past dean of the Robertson School of Government at Regent University and a Research Fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, where he previously served full-time.  Patterson’s interest in the intersection of religion, ethics, and foreign policy is informed by two stints at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, with work in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Congo, Angola, and elsewhere.  He also served as a White House Fellow and worked for the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Patterson is the author or editor of over a dozen books, including Politics in a Religious World: Toward a Religiously Informed U.S. Foreign Policy, Just American Wars: Ethical Dilemmas in U.S. Military History, Ending Wars Well, Ethics Beyond War’s End, and Military Chaplains in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond.  He has published on religious freedom, democracy, and democratization in International Studies Perspectives, Review of Faith and International Affairs, International Politics, and the International Journal of Religious Freedom.  In addition to scholarly journals such as Survival, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Providence, and Security Studies, he has been featured in popular outlets like The Washington Post and Washington Times.  He continues to serve as an officer and commander in the Texas Air National Guard. More


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Timothy Samuel Shah, Vice president for strategy and international research and director, south and southeast asia action team

Timothy Samuel Shah serves as Vice President for Strategy and International Research and the Director of the South and Southeast Asia Action Team of the Religious Freedom Institute. He 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

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Byron R. Johnson, Senior Fellow

Dr. Byron Johnson serves as Senior Fellow at the Religious Freedom Institute and a 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


Kent hill, Senior fellow for eurasia, Middle East, and Islam

Kent Hill serves as Senior Fellow for Eurasia, Middle East, and Islam at the Religious Freedom Institute, where he originally joined as Executive Director in September 2016. 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