Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith leads the Homelessness, Refugees, and Safe Water Initiatives, as well as the Disaster and Program-Related Investments for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Smith has worked in the humanitarian sector throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East for 25 years. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was the head of Education, Child Protection and Youth Livelihoods for the International Rescue Committee (IRC). At the IRC, Smith led the design of several historic programs, including Ahlan SimSim, an early childhood development initiative with Sesame Workshop in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, which won the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural $100 million 100&Change prize. Smith has been at the forefront of bringing rigorous, actionable research into humanitarian settings, and was named a “Leading Global Thinker” by Foreign Policy Magazine in 2016. She began her career as a Head Start preschool teacher in Ohio and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia. Smith earned a master’s degree in international policy from Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and a doctorate in education from Columbia University, Teachers College.