"Faith is part of our future," Blair says, "and faith and the values it brings with it are an essential part of making globalization work."
For Blair, the goal is to rescue faith from the twin challenges of irrelevance—the idea that religion is no more than an interesting aspect of history—and extremism.
Blair and those working with him think religion is key to the global agenda. "You can't hope to understand what's happening in the world if you don't know that religion is a very important force in people's lives," says Ruth Turner, 37, formerly a top aide to Blair in 10 Downing Street, who will head the foundation.
"You can't make the world work properly unless you understand that, while not everyone will believe in God or have a spiritual life, a lot of people will."
Blair, she says, has been thinking about these issues "for decades and decades and decades."
Over time, says Blair of the foundation's work, "this is how I want to spend the rest of my life."