Scott Smith is the director of USIP's Afghanistan & Central Asia program. Prior to joining USIP in April 2012, Smith spent 13 years at the United Nations, focusing primarily on Afghanistan and democratization issues. He served as the senior special assistant to the special representative of the secretary-general in Kabul from January 2009 to August 2010. From June 2007 to January 2009, he served as a senior political affairs officer and team leader for Afghanistan in the department of peacekeeping operations. As the desk officer for the 2004 Afghan presidential elections in the U.N.'s Electoral Assistance Division, Smith oversaw the planning, establishment and financing of the U.N. electoral team in Afghanistan. Prior to 2004, Smith held several political affairs officer positions, including as the Afghanistan desk officer from 2002-2003 and as the political adviser to the United Nations Political Office in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.
He first started working in Afghanistan in 1994-1995 with a French humanitarian organization, Solidarités. Smith is the author of Afghanistan's Troubled Transition: Politics, Peacekeeping and the 2004 Presidential Election, as well as a number of articles and book chapters. He is an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.
Smith holds a bachelor of science in foreign service from Georgetown University. He also holds a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs.
- “The bull in Afghanistan’s china shop”, Foreign Policy.com, March 27, 2013
- Afghanistan’s Troubled Transition: Peacekeeping, Politics, and the 2004 Presidential Elections, Lunne Rienner, 2010
- “Lost in Transition: A Political Strategy for Afghanistan,” with Andrew Wilder, ForeignPolicy.com, May 22, 2012.
- “Making Withdrawal Work: A Smaller U.S. Footprint Will Make Afghanistan More Stable,” Foreign Affairs online, 5 August 2011.