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Alexander Thier

J Alexander Thier joined USIP as senior adviser in the Rule of Law Center of Innovation, in 2005. He is director of the project on Constitution Making, Peacebuilding, and National Reconciliation, expert group lead for the Genocide Prevention Task Force and director of the Future of Afghanistan Project. He is also responsible for several rule of law programs in Afghanistan, including a project on establishing relations between Afghanistan's formal and informal justice systems.


Before joining USIP in 2005, Thier was the director of the Project on Failed States at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. From 2002 to 2004, Thier was legal adviser to Afghanistan’s Constitutional and Judicial Reform Commissions in Kabul, where he assisted in the development of a new constitution and judicial system.


Thier has also worked as a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, a legal and constitutional expert to the British Department for International Development, and as an adviser to the Constitutional Commission of Southern Sudan. Thier worked as a U.N. and NGO official in Afghanistan during the civil war from 1993 to 1996, where he was the officer-in-charge of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan in Kabul. He also served as coordination officer for the U.N. Iraq Program in New York. An attorney, Thier was a Skadden fellow and a graduate fellow at the U.S. National Security Council’s Directorate for Near-East and South Asia. He received the Richard S. Goldsmith award for outstanding work on dispute resolution from Stanford University in 2000.


Thier has appeared as an expert commentator on NPR, CBS and the BBC and has written in the New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, among others. He has a B.A. from Brown University, a master’s in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.

Will More Troops Fix Afghanistan?

Policy debates over whether we "need" more troops in Afghanistan miss the point. We do need more troops, but military might, alone, will not address the long-term problems. US policy toward Afghanistan will require a fundamental shift in order to stabilize that country. A focused,...

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