Ronan Farrow is a writer, human rights lawyer and diplomat. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on youth uprisings, having served as the United States’ first envoy on youth issues, led the Obama administration’s response to the Arab Spring revolutions, and founded State Department’s Office of Global Youth Issues for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Farrow started on his path to success early, enrolling at Bard College at 11 and becoming its youngest ever graduate at 15. He was subsequently one of the youngest students ever admitted to Yale Law School at age 16, and one of the youngest State Department appointees on record at 21. At 23, he was awarded the renowned Rhodes scholarship.
Farrow gained notoriety as a youth activist, as one of the leaders of the American student movement on atrocities in Darfur. Working with the Genocide Intervention Network, he spoke at universities around the country, reporting atrocities he’d witnessed while working in Sudan and mobilizing student action that eventually led to strengthened sanctions and international involvement in the conflict. Writing for the Wall Street Journal in 2006, he was among the first to report on the critical role of Chinese investments in fueling the conflict, an expose that would eventually spark front-page New York Times coverage and a major international divestment campaign.
In addition to his work for the Wall Street Journal, Farrow’s writings on humanitarian and human rights issues have appeared in publications including the Los Angeles Times, the International Herald Tribune and the Washington Post. He has appeared on MSNBC, ABC and CNN, among others, advocating for children associated with armed conflicts.
Prior to joining the State Department, he served as Spokesperson for Youth at UNICEF, working with youth groups on the AIDS epidemic in Nigeria, on post-war reconstruction efforts in Angola, and in the Darfur region of Sudan. He also worked in Afghanistan and Pakistan on conflict issues in those countries.
Farrow brings to the podium a hard-edged policy expertise brought to life through stories of his adventures and misadventures around the world. He delivers concrete steps each person can take in their community to fight for the issues they care about, and has inspired people across the world to take action. He has also worked extensively with businesses, leveraging his knowledge and experience to help corporations optimize their resources and reach the coveted youth market.
Born to movie star parents and grandparents and raised in a family of fourteen adopted siblings from around the world, Farrow also offers lessons learned from colorful personal background.
In 2008, he was awarded Refugees International’s McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award for “extraordinary service to refugees and displaced people.” In 2009, he was named by New York Magazine as their “New Activist” of the year and included on their list of individuals “on the verge of changing their worlds.” In 2010, Harper’s Bazaar named him their “up-and-coming politician of the year.” In 2012, he was named one of the Christian Science Monitor’s 30 young people with game-changing ideas, and as one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” most influential people.