Farah Pandith is a world-leading expert and pioneer in countering violent extremism. She is a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and she is a Senior Advisor at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Her book is How We Win: How Cutting-Edge Entrepreneurs, Political Visionaries, Enlightened Business Leaders, and Social Media Mavens Can Defeat the Extremist Threat. A foreign policy strategist and diplomatic entrepreneur, she is driving efforts to counter extremism through new organizations, programs, and initiatives. Most recently, the Muhammad Ali Center named Pandith the first-ever Muhammad Ali Global Peace Laureate for her proven track record of and commitment to promoting diversity, cohesion, and respect.
Ms. Pandith has served as a political appointee in the George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Barack H. Obama administrations. Ms. Pandith was appointed the first-ever special representative to Muslim Communities in June 2009 by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, serving under both Secretaries Clinton and John Kerry. The Office of the Special Representative was responsible for engaging with Muslims around the world both organizationally and individually. Reporting directly to the secretary of state, Ms. Pandith traveled to nearly one hundred countries and launched youth-focused initiatives, while also playing a central role in the creation of the Women in Public Service Project. In January 2013, she was awarded the Secretary's Distinguished Honor Award.
Ms. Pandith has consulted for organizations in the public, private, and non-profit sectors and has served in leadership positions on several boards with a focus on international affairs, women’s empowerment, education, and cultural diplomacy. She was a member of Secretary Jeh Johnson’s Homeland Security Advisory Council where she chaired its task force on countering violent extremism (2015-2017). She also served as a Commissioner and Strategic Advisor on the Center for Strategic and International Studies CVE Commission, which produced the report Turning Point. She was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics (Spring 2014) and a Fisher Family Fellow (Fall 2014).
Ms. Pandith received a Master’s degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she specialized in International Security Studies, Islamic Civilizations and Southwest Asia, and International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. She received an A.B. in Government and Psychology from Smith College, where she was president of the student body. She is currently a member of the Board of Advisors of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Ms. Pandith was born in Srinagar, Kashmir, India, and was raised in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts