2019 Tillman Scholar

Syed Faraz

Air Force
Stanford University
Harvard University | MBA | MPP

“To restore America’s lead on the global stage, we must build bridges between private and public sector innovators.”

Faraz journeyed with his family from autocratic states to America’s freedoms and that journey changed the course of his life. After studying  Economics/Politics at the University of Texas – Arlington on a merit scholarship, he resolved to defend those freedoms that changed his family’s life.

As a Navigator in the Air Force, Faraz flew more than 630 combat hours, played a crucial role in the Obama-directed rescue of 40,000 refugees and led a campaign to deliver aid to 1,600 earthquake survivors. The last three years, he’s been deeply engaged in national security innovation as the CTO for the U-2 community. With his team, Faraz raised over $100 million for grassroots innovation initiatives, inspired the Air Force to launch a $64 million innovation fund and helped found the DoD’s first unit-level Federal Lab. To share these lessons, he launched a case study with Harvard Business School exploring change in bureaucracies.

By pursuing a Stanford MBA and Harvard MPP (as a Zuckerman Fellow), Faraz intends to further hone his skills to continue serving his adopted homeland and build bridges between private and public sector innovators. His goal is to transform the DoD to enhance American leadership on the global stage, and ensure that the liberal values America was founded upon continue to flourish across the world. Faraz is the highest-flying aviator of Muslim heritage (besides astronauts), and recently summited Kilimanjaro with his wife for their honeymoon.