J Alexander Thier

J Alexander Thier, MA, JD

Visiting Fellow and Campbell National Fellow, Hoover Institution 2004 - 2005


Research Interests

Afghanistan, State-Building, Constitutional Development, Rule of Law, International Intervention and Failed States


J Alexander Thier was legal advisor to Afghanistan's Constitutional and Judicial Reform Commissions in Kabul in 2003-2004, where he assisted in the development of a new constitution and judicial system. In 2002 Alex worked in Kabul as a Constitutional and Legal expert to the British Department for International Development, and as Senior Analyst for the International Crisis Group.

Thier worked as a UN and NGO official in Afghanistan from 1993-1996 through the civil war, and was the Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan (UNOCHA) in Kabul. He also served as Coordination Officer for the UN Iraq Program in New York.

An attorney, Thier was a Skadden Fellow, and interned in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. He was also a graduate fellow at the U.S. National Security Council's Directorate for Near-East and South Asia. He has a BA from Brown University, an MALD from the Fletcher School, and a JD from Stanford Law School.

Thier has appeared as an expert commentator on NPR, CBS, and the BBC, and in the pages of the New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. He recently served as Project Advisor for "Hell of a Nation" a documentary film by Tamara Gould about the constitutional process in Afghanistan. With additional support from the US Institute of Peace, he is writing a book about state-building and Afghanistan.

His publications include "The Politics of Peacebuilding," in Donini et al, ed., Nation-Building Unraveled: Aid, Peace, and Justice in Afghanistan, (Kumerian, 2003), "The Road Ahead: Political and Institutional Reconstruction in Afghanistan," in Barakat, ed., Reconstructing War-Torn Societies: Afghanistan, Third World Quarterly Series, (Palgrave, 2004), "Afghanistan: A Case Study," in Stares and Durch, eds., 21st Century Peace Operations, (USIP, 2005), "Attacking Democracy from the Bench." (Opinion) New York Times, January 26, 2004, and "Planning Considerations for International Involvement in Post-Taliban Afghanistan." with Jarat Chopra and Jim McCallum, Brown Journal of World Affairs, Winter 2002.