Eric Patterson serves as president of the Religious Freedom Institute and is a research fellow with the Georgetown University Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. He previously served as dean of the School of Government at Regent University, and before that, as associate director at the Berkley Center. He is an expert in two overlapping areas: the ethics of war and peace, and global religious trends and religious freedom policy. These two areas routinely intersect, such as in building post-conflict systems that represent diverse ethnoreligious factions, understanding the religious factors in conflict, and measuring U.S. democracy promotion efforts. His government experience includes time at the U.S. State Department, service as a White House Fellow, and over 20 years as an Air National Guard commander. He is the author or editor of 20 books, including Politics in a Religious World: Toward a Religious Informed U.S. Foreign Policy (2011).
Previously, Patterson spent nearly four years as associate director of the Berkley Center, leading two Berkley Center initiatives: one on Religion, Conflict, and Peace and the latter involving Government Outreach. The former was devoted to teaching and scholarship on the intersection of religion, conflict, and peace and included the development of teaching resources, including 20 case studies and nine film guides available for classroom use. The Government Outreach program, which brought expertise and resources on religion and world affairs to government agencies, resulted in seminars and presentations at the Armed Forces Chaplains Center, National Defense University, the Foreign Service Institute, the Naval Postgraduate School, and numerous other government audiences.
Prior to coming to the Berkley Center, Patterson spent three years working for the federal government. He served as a White House fellow and special assistant to the director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (2007-2008). Before that he was on university leave of absence as William C. Foster Fellow in the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM), where he worked on international small arms and light weapons security issues (2005-2007). He returned there for eight months of the 2011-2012 academic year as a State Department contractor, working as deputy director for international programs on the Interagency Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) Task Force in the PM Bureau.
Patterson earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Santa Barbara, an M.Sc. in international politics from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth, and B.A. degrees in biblical studies and music education from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri.