An interest in Vietnamese Buddhism drew Billy Ford ’10 to Vietnam to study his junior year at Hamilton College, and the experience set him on his career path. He works at Freedom House, which describes itself as an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world.
“My time in Vietnam drastically changed my professional trajectory and opened up an entirely new area of interest for me – the human right to religious freedom,” says Ford, who majored in religious studies.
He won a Fulbright scholarship to live and teach in the conservative Muslim province of Terengganu, Malaysia. Then Ford landed an internship at Freedom House, where he worked his way up. He is program manager on the Southeast Asia team and oversees a legal reform project in Burma, liaises with the State Department and other bilateral governments and develops and pitches project proposals.
“So, within a year of joining Freedom House I had been promoted three times, and I can say with confidence that I had been promoted in large part because I manifest the ability to write well and speak with confidence – an ability that I developed as a religious studies major at Hamilton,” Ford says.