Fall 2022 Polak Foundation Fellow
With extensive experience as a senior U.S. diplomat, criminal prosecutor, military officer, and community leader, Elan Carr provides an influential voice on key policy matters affecting America and the world today. He serves as a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a teaching fellow at the University of Southern California, and a member of several for-profit and non-profit boards of directors.
In 2019, Mr. Carr was appointed United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. As the senior diplomatic representative of the United States and the chief advisor to the Secretary of State on the subject of anti-Semitism, he directed U.S. policy and programs aimed at combating it. While in office, he negotiated groundbreaking agreements with foreign governments; convened the first-ever U.S. Government-sponsored conference on combating online hate; drove new policies on anti-Zionism, anti-Israel discrimination, and campus anti-Semitism; broadened the global consensus on the definition of anti-Semitism; focused the attention of foreign and domestic law enforcement leaders on the importance of hate crimes prosecutions; launched philo-Semitism initiatives in three countries; and conducted an aggressive, global public diplomacy campaign by delivering more than 180 speeches throughout the world and conducting numerous press interviews. During his tenure, his office was given the rank of Ambassador.
Prior to his federal appointment, Mr. Carr prosecuted violent felony crimes for more than a decade as a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. He prosecuted murders, attempted murders, and cases involving Southern California’s most notorious criminal street gangs. While assigned to a special victim unit, he focused on sexual assault, domestic violence, and child molestation crimes. A number of his cases garnered media attention. He was also one of LA County’s few specially-designated animal cruelty prosecutors.
Mr. Carr is an officer in the United States Army Reserve and received multiple awards for his two decades of military service. In 2003-04, he spent nearly a year on military deployment in Iraq, where he first helped to lead a joint anti-terrorism team in life-saving missions and then prosecuted terrorists. He also worked to establish an independent Iraqi judiciary and trained Iraqi judges on constitutional law and criminal defense.
As the son of Jewish refugees from Iraq, Mr. Carr speaks Hebrew and the Iraqi dialect of Arabic. While in Iraq, he met with its Jewish community and helped them to preserve communal property. He led the first Hanukkah ceremony and regular Jewish services in the former presidential palace of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.
In 2014, Mr. Carr was the Republican nominee for Congress in California’s 33rd Congressional District. He finished first out of 18 candidates in a multi-party, top-two primary, and in the general election, he out-performed GOP registration in his district by 18 points. He received the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Gun” status—its highest rating—and was endorsed by the House leadership, the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs, and the previous two Republican nominees for President of the United States.
Mr. Carr served as the 71st international president of Alpha Epsilon Pi, a voting member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and a member of the National Council of AIPAC.
Mr. Carr is married to Dr. Dahlia T. Carr, a rheumatologist in private practice, and they have three children, Hannah, Rachelle, and Samuel.
Study Group: America and Antisemitism: How the United States Wrestles With the World’s Oldest Hatred
This group covered antisemitism abroad and at home, and discussed policy solutions to address its rise. Study group topics included a brief history of antisemitism in America, America’s unique role in combatting antisemitism abroad, and how the international community cooperates on this issue. Guests speakers supplemented Fellow Elan Carr’s expertise in the study group.
Fall 2022 Semester Recap
Elan Carr said this about his experience at USC’s Center for the Political Future: “The experience was terrific, from the panel conversations to the Pizza and Politics sessions with students. The actual class was phenomenal. Engaging with USC students on important issues that go to the heart of some of the main policy concerns we’re grappling with in America was important and deeply rewarding. To be part of an institution dedicated to bringing Americans together within a framework of serious, substantive, and respectful conversation on difficult issues is profoundly important. My favorite part was engaging with smart, energetic, and caring USC students who want to grapple with important issues facing our society today. It was inspiring, motivating, empowering, and deeply rewarding. I’m so grateful to CPF for this tremendous honor and opportunity.”
USC students in Elan’s study group shared this about their experience:
“We got to network with people who specialized in their field and got to learn from their work and experiences. The best part was that I wasn’t alone in my interest in the fellow discussion.”
“My Fall 2022 CPF Fellows experience offered me an opportunity to meet weekly with a top political figure. As a return student in the Fellows Program, I was excited to learn insights from an experienced political figure. My second fellows experience surpassed my first!”
“The most valuable part of this experience was the ability to learn from both our instructor and my peers, cultivate pragmatic policy solutions, and be in an environment where diverse thought is applauded. Learning with this group led me to learn things about policy and the world that I did not know before, and it gave me new perspectives on an array of topics.”
Elan shared his thoughts on the importance of politics, his first political experience, and his advice for having respectful political discourse in his “Quick Takes: Q&A with CPF Fellow Elan Carr” video.