A Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, Gayle Smith served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council from 1998-2001, and as Senior Advisor to the Administrator and Chief of Staff of the U.S. Agency for International Development from 1994-1998.
Smith was based in Africa for over 20 years as a journalist covering military, economic, and political affairs for the BBC, Associated Press, Reuters, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Toronto Globe & Mail, London Observer, and Financial Times. Smith has also consulted for a wide range of NGOs, foundations, and governmental organizations including UNICEF, the World Bank, Dutch Interchurch Aid, Norwegian Church Relief, and the Canadian Council for International Cooperation. She won the World Journalism Award from the World Affairs Council and the World Hunger Year Award in 1991, and in 1999 won the National Security Council’s Samuel Nelson Drew Award for Distinguished Contribution in Pursuit of Global Peace.
Smith is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the boards of Oxfam America, the Africa America Institute, USA for Africa, and the National Security Network. She also serves on the policy advisory boards of DATA, the Acumen Fund, and the Global Fairness Initiative, and is the Working Group Chair on Global Poverty for the Clinton Global Initiative.