John Lechner is currently a Policy Analyst at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom focusing on the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Turkey. Prior to joining USCIRF, John worked as a freelance journalist—covering conflict in the Central African Republic and the former Soviet Union—and, prior to that, as an investment banker.
John holds a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts in Slavic Languages and Literature from Harvard University. He speaks Russian, Georgian, Chechen, Turkish, French, German, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, and Sango (the lingua franca of the Central African Republic). He is also learning Armenian, Circassian, Sudanese Arabic, and Ancient Greek. John is an expert on the history, politics, and linguistics of Central Africa, Turkey, and the former Soviet Union, and his research concentrates on the nexus of language, identity, and conflict.