James Schwemlein is a nonresident scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a consultant working for the World Bank.
He currently serves as a consultant for the World Bank on South Asia, including examining the implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and advising recipient countries on how to maximize the economic benefit and mitigate the risks associated with the influx of new investment. He has also recently worked for the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Atlantic Council.
Schwemlein is a former U.S. diplomat experienced in South Asia and U.S. foreign economic policy. From 2011 to 2017, he served as senior advisor to the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan with responsibility for regional diplomatic strategy as well as economic development and policy initiatives. In this role, he managed the creation of new diplomatic mechanisms for coordination with Afghanistan’s neighbors, including China, India, Iran, and Russia. He helped stand up the first U.S.-China and U.S.-India joint development projects in Afghanistan. He also oversaw preparations for multiple major international and regional conferences on Afghanistan. He contributed to the design of two of the largest U.S. foreign assistance programs in the world, and helped design innovative public-private partnerships to draw U.S. private investment into frontier markets. He also worked closely with the international financial institutions, and served as an expert on donor coordination, including related to humanitarian relief and disaster response. Prior to his work in the special representative’s office, he served as Pakistan desk officer from 2009 to 2010 and as a trade policy officer from 2008 to 2009, focusing on trade promotion activities and global market access issues, including through the G20 and G8 summits.
Schwemlein has a master’s degree in international affairs/political economy from American University and a bachelor’s degree from Elon University. He is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.