Kian Tajbakhsh "is a social scientist and urban planner. He has worked as a consultant in the areas of local government reform, urban planning and social policy, and has taught at universities in the US and in Iran. He has worked with several organizations including Iran’s Municipalities Organization, the Social Security Organization, and international organizations such as the World Bank and the Dutch Association of Municipalities. His academic research examines the evolving nature of Iranian state institutions and the policy making process. He is the author of two books and over twenty academic papers. In 2006, he completed a three year study of the local government sector in Iran. From 1994 until 2001, Dr. Tajbakhsh taught Urban Policy and Politics at the New School for Social Research in New York City. He received his M.Sc. from University College, London in 1984, and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1993." 
Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh are the "[t]wo Iranian-American scholars detained since May  on national security charges [that] appeared in a program on nationwide television on Wednesday night that suggested that they were part of a project to try to overthrow the Iranian government." 
Academic Awards 
- Smith Richardson Foundation. Junior Faculty Fellowship, 2000 - 2002
- OSI Foundation Faculty Research Grant, 1999
- New School for Social Research Faculty Development Grant. Summer Research 1998
- Columbia University President Fellow, 1987-1988, 1988-1989
- VNG-International (The Netherlands Association of Municipalities). Project Director. "Promoting participatory local governance practices in Iran". 2006 - present
- World Bank, International Consultant, Project Director, Municipal Management and Local Economic Development Study. 2005 – present.
- World Bank, Tehran Municipality Solid Waste Management Project, 2005. Working on the Financial Management Report.
- World Bank. Project Director. Urban Service Delivery Survey: The Case of the Iran (Part of a Seven Country MENA Study) 2005.
- World Bank, International Consultant. Tajikistan, Ferghana Valley Water Resources Management Project. 2004 -5
- World Bank, Tehran Municipality Solid Waste Management Project, 2004
- World Bank, The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies and The European Commission. Invited Member on Deepening The Dialogue for Better Governance in the Middle East and North Africa Region, 17-19 October 2003, Beirut – Lebanon.
- World Bank, MNA - Decentralization and Municipal Development Regional Study: The Case of Iran. 2003. Author
- VNG-International (The Netherlands Association of Municipalities). Project Director for visit to Iran of delegation of eleven Dutch Mayors October, 2004, and return visit of Iranian Mayors and Municipal Officials to the Netherlands April 2005