Former Senior Director, Governance and Law

Barbara Smith left the Foundation in July, 2015.

Barbara Smith was formerly Senior Director for Governance and Law, with responsibility for overseeing the Foundation’s governance and law programs. Smith travels extensively through the region engaging with host national government and civil society professionals and organizations to advise on and better understand the roles of governance, human rights, and rule of law. Prior to joining the Foundation, Barbara served as a Senior Policy Analyst in USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) Policy Office, where she co-chaired a policy team charged with drafting the USAID strategy for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance.

While with USAID’s Policy Office, Smith also worked on a number of other development policy issues, including co-leading two other teams examining how USAID could better integrate governance across development sectors and better ways to incentivize good governance practices. From February through July 2011, Smith held the position of Deputy Coordinator of USAID’s Middle East Transition Response Team, helping to lead and coordinate USAID’s Arab Spring response, and in 2010 she was part of the inaugural team in USAID’s Strategic and Program Planning (SPP) Office overseeing USAID’s new Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) process.

From 2009-2010, she served as Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the White House National Security Council. From 2005 to 2009, Ms. Smith worked as a Democracy Specialist and Senior DG Field Advisor in USAID’s Democracy and Governance (DG) Office, working with both the Strategic Planning and Elections and Political Processes teams. While with the DG Office, Ms. Smith backstopped the Asia region, providing technical assistance to Afghanistan, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and East Timor, and serving as Acting DG Office Director for USAID/Pakistan.

Barbara Smith spent from mid-2003 through mid-2005 in several different roles with The Asia Foundation’s Afghanistan office; first as a program officer, then director of Elections and deputy country representative. Other Positions held previously by Smith include serving as a Program Officer for USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) in Washington from 2001 to 2003, as a Public Information Officer and Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1999 to 2000, and finally as a Media Development Officer at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), also in Bosnia from 1998 to 1999. While serving with OTI, she supported programmatic responses in Afghanistan, Iraq, Macedonia and Serbia.

Education: Barbara holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree from Texas State University.