Mary Oakes Smith was the founder and president of the Iraqi Women’s Fellowship Foundation that brought women faculty in the sciences and technology to top U.S. universities for up to one academic year. The fellows returned to their Iraqi universities with cutting edge knowledge in their fields, as well as new teaching and research technologies. The program established cultural exchange and long-term relationships between the fellows’ home and host universities. In 2022, she closed the program, giving the residual in finance to the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS), where she is a member of the Board of Trustees. Her final Iraqi fellow completed a successful program at the University of Texas, MD Anderson, and gained a PhD in Iraq at the University of Sulaimani.
Smith has had a 30-year career with the World Bank, specializing in industry, energy, and telecommunications. She was senior manager of two major financial replenishments for the International Development Association, achieving $31 billion in total funding. She was appointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the Advisory Board for the Fund for International Partnerships, guiding the development of strategic frameworks and funding for children and health, women and population, the environment, and peace and human rights. She is a member of the Advisory Council of the UN Association for the National Capital Area, and a member of the Bretton Woods Committee. She graduated from Smith College in political science. Several years thereafter, she graduated as a Sloan Fellow from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and served as a member of the Sloan School Board of Governors for several years.