Jean-François Mayer was born in Fribourg, Switzerland, in 1957. He received both his master's degree (1979) and his doctorate in history (1984) from the University of Lyon. In 1985-1986, he worked with Swiss Radio International. From 1987 to 1990, he was in charge of a research project attached to a programme on "Cultural Pluralism and National Identity" of the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Between 1991 to 1998, Jean-François Mayer worked as an analyst in strategic and international affairs for the Swiss Federal Government, also serving as the secretary of the government's Situation Conference.
Jean-François Mayer returned to the field of academic research in the late 1990s. He taught at the University of Fribourg as a lecturer in religious studies from 1999 to 2007. He is frequently invited to lecture at foreign universities.
In 2007, Jean-François Mayer founded the Religioscope Institute
. He is the founder and chief editor of Religioscope
, an independent, bilingual website offering news and analyses on the role and place of religion in our world. He is associate editor of Religion Watch
, a New York based newsletter monitoring trends in contemporary religion, which used to be published by Religioscope Institute from January 2008 until June 2013.
In addition, Jean-François Mayer worked from 2006 to 2010 as a scientific advisor to a new project, "Religion and Politics", currently hosted by the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding
(CCDP), at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Jean-François Mayer also provides services as a consultant. His firm, JFM Recherches et Analyses
, was founded in August 1999.
He is the author of over ten books (in six languages) and numerous articles, primarily dealing with religious developments in the contemporary world. A full list of his publications
can be found on this website.