January 23, 2003 - Former NSC staffer Eric Schwartz has joined the Council to direct a new Council-sponsored Independent Task Force on Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Iraq. The Task Force will address key questions related to security, rule of law, and the rebuilding of Iraq’s economy.
The Task Force will use as its starting point the recently released paper, “Guiding Principles for U.S. Post-Conflict Policy in Iraq,” produced jointly by the Council and the James A. Baker III Institute of Rice University. That report was the first systematic and comprehensive effort to outline guiding principles and priorities in the post-war environment. The new Task Force will address priorities and sequencing of major decisions at the conclusion of any combat.
“Eric is uniquely qualified to address these issues given the exceptionally broad range of his experience and expertise,” said Council President Leslie H. Gelb.
Schwartz was Special Assistant to President Clinton and Senior Director for Multinational and Humanitarian Affairs at the National Security Council. He managed U.S. policy on the United Nations, peacekeeping and U.S. responses to humanitarian crises; international refugee affairs and migration; and international human rights, war crimes and the rule of law. Schwartz chaired the Clinton Administration’s peacekeeping task force, and played a key role in ensuring U.S. support during peacekeeping crises in Sierra Leone and East Timor.
After the conclusion of the Council’s Task Force on Iraq, Schwartz will write a book on the impact of failed states on U.S. national security and assess how the United States and other governments are responding to the new challenges of nation-building.
Throughout his career, Schwartz has been a leader in the development of U.S. policy on humanitarian and post-conflict issues. He coordinated the U.S. humanitarian response when Kosovars were driven out of their country by the Serbs; he helped evacuate Kurdish employees of nongovernmental organizations when Iraq invaded the northern safe-haven zone; and he developed and implemented the U.S. government policy to provide U.S. resettlement for Vietnamese refugees in Asian camps.
Prior to the White House, Schwartz was a staff consultant to the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, was Washington Director of Asia Watch (now Human Rights Watch-Asia), and worked for various international and nongovernmental organizations on rule of law issues.
Schwartz holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law, an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University; and a B.A., with honors, in Political Science from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Contact: Lisa Shields, Director of Communications, 212-434-9888