My Background

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Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University

David J. Smith’s work spans the fields of peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and civic and global education. He has over 30 years’ experience as an educational consultant, lawyer, mediator, college professor, trainer, senior program officer, senior manager, career coach, and author. David supports educators, youth, and professionals in developing institution-wide initiatives and student activities promoting civic, conflict, and peacebuilding awareness. He works with groups and individuals in need of career coaching, mediation, and conflict engagement assistance. He has worked with over 500 colleges around the U.S. and has given nearly 600 talks on peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and international education.

He is the president of the Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education, Inc., a 501c3 not-for-profit that offers experiential learning opportunities for students and professionals. The work of the Forage Center was featured in a recent edition of Mason Spirit Magazine. He was formerly a senior program officer and manager of national outreach at the U.S. Institute of Peace. He has taught at Harford Community College, Goucher College, Towson University, Georgetown University,  Drexel University, and at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. David was a founding member of the Harford County (Maryland) Community Mediation Commission.  While practicing law in Towson, Maryland, he also engaged in family mediation. He served as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar at the University of Tartu (Estonia) teaching peace studies and alternative dispute resolution.

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David is a recipient of  the William Kreidler Award for Distinguished Service to the field of Conflict Resolution given by the Association for Conflict Resolution and the inaugural Global Education Award for Outstanding Voluntary Service Leadership given by the World Affairs Council/Washington, DC. David is past chair of the Rockville (Maryland) Human Rights Commission, where he received the Community Mediator of the Year Award.  He was a featured presenter at TEDxFulbright “A Curious Picture” in June 2017 where he gave a talk titled “Talking about Peace.”   The Washington Post featured David in its “Just Asking” column in April 2018. His clients have included the Fulbright Association, where he led its diversity initiative, and Street Law, Inc., where he spearheaded its community college efforts. David is a member of the Peace and Collaborative Development Network (PCDN) Career Advisory Panel as well as the Global Education Committee of the World Affairs Council (Washington, DC).

David is the author of Legal Research and Writing (Cengage, 1996) and editor of Peacebuilding in Community Colleges: A Teaching Resource (USIP Press, 2013). In 2016 he published  Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (Information Age Publishing). David is co-author of USIP Special Report 246 Graduate Education and Professional Practice in International Peace and Conflict (August 2010). He has published in Career Convergence Magazine,  Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Education, LinkedIn PulseConflict Resolution QuarterlyCommunity College Journal,  Community College Daily, Journal of Peace Education, Forbes.com,  Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Korea Herald,  Arizona Daily Sun, The Gulf Today (UAE),  South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and The Baltimore Sun.

He is a graduate of American University (BA, political science & urban affairs), George Mason University (MS, conflict analysis & resolution), and the University of Baltimore (JD). David has completed course work with Coach Training Alliance and is an official member of  Forbes Coaches Council. He lives in Rockville, Maryland, with his wife, who teaches nursing at Montgomery College, and daughter, who is in her second year of college. Their son recently completed service in the Peace Corps in Namibia. David holds dual American and Canadian citizenship.

Updated 11/28/18

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