Prof. Dr. Christof Sauer (*1963) serves as Research Director of IIRF in a part time position, being retired early for health reasons. He is one of two founding directors of the IIRF and served in that capacity until 2021. He also serves as director of the Cape Town Bureau of IIRF, where he lived from 2000–2020. He developed the International Journal for Religious Freedom.
Within the framework the IIRF International Professorships Programme he has held various academic positions.
He is currently Guest Professor at Evangelische Theologische Faculteit Leuven, Belgium (since 2014) and a senior researcher of its Institute for the Study of Freedom of Religion or Belief (initiated 2020). For 2023–2024 he has been appointed part time professor and consultant on FORB at Fjellhaug International University College, Oslo, Norway. Since 2011 he continues to be Professor Extraordinary at the Discipline Group Practical Theology and Missiology of Stellenbosch University in South Africa.
His previous appointment on behalf of IIRF was that of Professor of Religious Freedom and Research on Persecution of Christians at Giessen School of Theology in Germany (2017–2022). Since 2003 he also supervised numerous doctorates in missiology at the University of South Africa.
He is a theologian and missiologist by education and developed expertise in the field of FORB. He obtained his doctorate in missiology in 2002 at the University of South Africa in Pretoria. In 2013 he received the postdoctorate degree of “habilitation” at Protestant University Wuppertal/Bethel in Germany for his research on the interrelation of martyrdom and mission in worldwide Christianity.