Shannon Smith, PhD

Posted in Affiliates

Dr. Shannon Smith serves as a professor of practice of security studies and director of engagement at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. Her areas of expertise include U.S.-Africa policy, health security, and development policy, and the role of Congress in foreign relations.

Prior to joining the Africa Center, Dr. Smith served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa, where she oversaw U.S.-East Africa policy (and previously Southern Africa), as well as global health and the environment for the Africa Bureau. She led diplomatic missions, developed bilateral and multilateral policies, engaged with key interlocutors, and represented the State Department in a variety of national and international fora, including before Congress.

Dr. Smith spent a number of years on Capitol Hill, where she was the senior policy adviser for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Africa, global health, peacekeeping, and conflict issues. She also served as the national security adviser for the assistant majority leader of the Senate. As a Senate staffer, she shepherded successful legislation on HIV/AIDS (including the reauthorization of PEPFAR), war crimes, and global climate change, among other issues.

Dr. Smith is a summa cum laude graduate of Texas A&M University and holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University where she was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.