May 20, 2013
On May 20, 2013, Alex Thier of USAID joins the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center for a discussion on governance opportunities and challenges in Pakistan following the May 11 election.



Pakistan’s General Election is set for May 11 and regardless of which party comes to power, the next administration will face a number of daunting challenges related to successful governance. High unemployment, circular debt in Pakistan’s energy sector, and widespread corruption only hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to severe challenges that Pakistan is facing. The election results could also bring a shift in the central government’s relationship not only with the provinces but also with the people. Despite this, every challenge also presents an opportunity for Pakistan.

USAID’s program in Pakistan has been working on transforming a number of these challenges into opportunities, including supporting energy sector reforms, encouraging trade liberalization, and increasing political parties’ responsiveness to constituent concerns. USAID’s Alex Thier speaks to these efforts and offer his insight on how Pakistan, amongst all its transitions, can make the governance choices that will accelerate a positive trajectory of economic and civic growth.

A conversation with

Alex Thier
Assistant to the Administrator, Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs
US Agency for International Development

Moderated by

Shuja Nawaz
Director, South Asia Center
Atlantic Council

Alexander Thier was sworn in as assistant to the administrator for the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs in August 2010. Prior to joining USAID, Thier served as director for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the US Institute of Peace (USIP), chair of the USIP’s Afghanistan and Pakistan Working Groups, and senior adviser to the Rule of Law Center for Innovation.

Thier has also worked as director of the Project on Failed States at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. He was legal adviser to Afghanistan’s Constitutional and Judicial Reform Commissions in Kabul (2002-04), 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 United Nations and nongovernmental organization official in Afghanistan and Pakistan during the country’s civil war, where he was the officer-in-charge of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan in Kabul (1993-96). He also served as coordination officer for the UN Iraq Program in New York. As an attorney, Thier was a Skadden fellow and a graduate fellow at the US 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 a JD from Stanford Law School, a Master of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a BA from Brown University.