Former US Special Representative to Muslim Communities
The Honorable Farah Pandith is a former Spring 2014 Fellow at the Institute of Politics at The Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Until January 31, 2014 she served for more than a decade in public service as a political appointee in both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Most recently she was appointed the first-ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities in June 2009 by then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and continued under Secretary John Kerry. Her office was responsible for executing a vision for engagement with Muslims around the world based on a people-to-people and organizational level. She reported directly to the Secretary of State. She traveled to more than 80 countries in this role and launched youth-focused initiatives including Hours Against Hate, Viral Peace, Generation Change and The Transatlantic Leadership Network. She is a key architect of the Women in Public Service Project. In January 2013 she was awarded the Secretary's Distinguished Honor Award. Prior to this appointment, she was Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs where she was responsible for developing strategies to counter violent extremism. She founded first of its kind networks including CEDAR and Sisters Against Violent Extremism (SAVE). She also served on the staff of the National Security Council and was Chief of Staff of the Bureau for Asia and the Near East for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Special Representative Pandith received a Master’s degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She received an A.B. in Government and Psychology from Smith College, where she was president of the student body. She has served as a Trustee of Smith College and Milton Academy, and is currently a member of the Board of Overseers of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the Smith College President’s Council. She was born in Srinagar, Kashmir, India, and raised in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
She is currently writing her first book and building a movement to counter extremist ideology.