Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs

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Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs

Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. From 2002 to 2006, he was Director of the UN Millennium Project and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed goals to reduce extreme poverty, disease, and hunger by the year 2015. Sachs is also President and Co-Founder of Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization aimed at ending extreme global poverty.

Professor Sachs is widely considered to be the leading international economic advisor of his generation.  For more than 20 years Professor Sachs has been in the forefront of the challenges of economic development, poverty alleviation, and enlightened globalization, promoting policies to help all parts of the world to benefit from expanding economic opportunities and wellbeing.  He is also one of the leading voices for combining economic development with environmental sustainability, and as Director of the Earth Institute leads large-scale efforts to promote the mitigation of human-induced climate change.

He is internationally renowned for his work as economic advisor to governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia and Africa, and his work with international agencies on problems of poverty reduction, debt cancellation for the poorest countries, and disease control. He is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Sachs has been an advisor to the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Development Program, among other international agencies. During 2000-2001, he was Chairman of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health of the World Health Organization, and from September 1999 through March 2000 he served as a member of the International Financial Institutions Advisory Commission established by the U.S. Congress.

Professor Sachs was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2004 and 2005, and the World Affairs Council of America identified him as one of the 500 most influential people in the United States in the field of foreign policy. In February 2002 Nature Magazine stated that Sachs "has revitalized public health thinking since he brought his financial mind to it." In 1993 he was cited in The New York Times Magazine as "probably the most important economist in the world" and called in Time Magazine’s 1994 issue on 50 promising young leaders "the world's best-known economist." In 1997, the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur cited Professor Sachs as one of the world's 50 most important leaders on globalization. His syndicated newspaper column appears in more than 50 countries around the world, and he is a frequent contributor to major publications such as the Financial Times of London, Scientific American and Time magazine.

Sachs's research interests include the links of health and development, economic geography, globalization, transition to market economies in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, international financial markets, international macroeconomic policy coordination, emerging markets, economic development and growth, global competitiveness, and macroeconomic policies in developing and developed countries. He is author of hundreds of scholarly articles and many books, including the New York Times bestsellers Common Wealth  (Penguin, 2008) and The End of Poverty  (Penguin, 2005).

Sachs is the recipient of many awards and honors, including membership in the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Society of Fellows, and the Fellows of the World Econometric Society. In 2007, he received the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution International Advocate for Peace Award and was also awarded the Padma Bhushan, a high civilian honor bestowed by the Indian Government. He is also the 2005 recipient of the Sargent Shriver Award for Equal Justice. He is a member of the Brookings Panel of Economists, the Board of Advisors of the Chinese Economists Society, among other organizations.

He has received honorary degrees from many universities including Cracow University of Economics, Ursinus College, Whitman College, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Ohio Wesleyan University, the College of the Atlantic, Southern Methodist University, Simon Fraser University, McGill University, Southern New Hampshire University, St. John’s University, Iona College, St. Gallen University in Switzerland, the Lingnan College of Hong Kong, and Varna Economics University in Bulgaria, and an honorary professorship at Universidad del Pacifico in Peru. In 2007 Sachs was awarded the Centennial Medal from The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University for his contribution to society. Distinguished lecture series include the London School of Economics, Oxford University, Tel Aviv, Jakarta, Yale and the BBC Reith Lectures 2007.

Prior to his arrival at Columbia University in July 2002, Sachs spent over twenty years at Harvard University, most recently as Director of the Center for International Development and Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade.

Sachs was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1954. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Harvard College in 1976, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1978 and 1980 respectively. He joined the Harvard faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1980, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1982 and Full Professor in 1983.