TEDxBoston 2013

Farah Pandith

Viral Peacemaker

How can teens be empowered to reject extremism?

Adolescence is hard enough.  Imagine if it were compounded by a global narrative that associated nearly a billion teens with violence and hate based on their religion. Learn how a fresh approach is helping Muslim youth navigate their universal identity crisis.



Farah Pandith was appointed the first-ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities in June 2009 by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Under the leadership of Secretary John Kerry, she continues to be responsible for executing a vision for engagement with Muslims around the world based on a people-to-people and organizational level. Special Representative Pandith has traveled to more than 80 countries and launched youth-focused initiatives including Generation Change, Viral Peace and the Hours Against Hate campaign (which also became a partner with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.) She is a key architect of the Women in Public Service Project launched by Secretary Clinton in 2011. She has been a senior official at the State Departments Europe and Eurasian Affairs Bureau, a Director for Middle East Regional Initiatives for the National Security Council, and Chief of Staff for Asia and the Near East at the U.S. Agency for International Development. She received the Secretary’s Distinguished Honor Award in 2013.

Before entering government she was Vice President of International Business at ML Strategies, LLC based in Boston. Special Representative Pandith received a Masters degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and an A.B. in Government and Psychology from Smith College. 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 at Tufts University. She has been on the board of several Massachusetts organizations including the World Affairs Council of Boston and the Governors Asian Advisory Commission. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Special Representative Pandith was born in Srinagar, Kashmir, India, grew up in Braintree and Milton and proudly calls Massachusetts home.

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