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The Religious Freedom Institute


Between 2011 and 2016 the Religious Freedom Project (RFP) served as the nation’s only university-based program devoted exclusively to the analysis of religious freedom, a basic human right restricted in many parts of the world. In 2017 the RFP gave rise to two successor organizations: the Religious Freedom Research Project (RFRP), based at the Berkley Center, and the Religious Freedom Institute, an independent NGO.

Over the course of those six years the RFP engaged a team of international scholars to examine and debate the meaning and value of religious liberty; its importance for democracy; and its role in social and economic development, international diplomacy, and the struggle against violent religious extremism. The project was made possible by the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, the William E. Simon Foundation, the Catholic Foundation of Northern Colorado, as well as a partnership with Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion.

Thomas Farr

Senior Fellow/School of Foreign Service
Director, Religious Freedom Project,
Georgetown University

Timothy Shah

Senior Fellow/Department of Government
Associate Director, Religious Freedom Project
Georgetown University

Byron Johnson

Director of Baylor ISR,
Baylor University

Paul Marshall
The Jerry and Susie Wilson Chair
in Religious Freedom at Baylor University.

The RFRP brought together leading scholars and policymakers to examine and debate the evolution of international religious freedom policy and the contributions of religious liberty to the global common good. Thomas Farr served as RFRP director from 2017 to July 2018; other previous project scholars include Timothy Shah, who served as director for international research, and Andrew Bennett and Byron Johnson, who were senior research fellows. The project was made possible by a partnership with Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion and the generous support of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the William E. Simon Foundation.

The joint venture organized several major events and publications.  Click here to learn more.