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Speaker Series with Rachel Glennerster and Nancy Birdsall

A conversation on the future of aid

The Series features talks by distinguished scholars and policymakers with the goal of fostering discussions about successes and challenges in the field of poverty alleviation.

Event Details:

Wednesday, May 5, 2021
12:00pm - 1:00pm PDT


Virtual Event

This event is open to:

General Public
Governance and Institutions

COVID-19 has made the world poorer. If it means more aid is needed, will wealthy nations heed the call for more aid? What is the role of aid versus investment and trade policy? Where should aid be focused in the future? The Stanford King Center on Global Development hosted a conversation with two experts on the future of aid as part of the center's ongoing Speaker Series.

The event featured Rachel Glennerster, chief economist at the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and Nancy Birdsall, president emeritus and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. The conversation was moderated by Jeremy Weinstein, professor of political science and a King Center faculty affiliate.


Watch the recording of the event.

About the speakers:

Rachel Glennerster

Rachel Glennerster is the Chief Economist of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and member of the FCDO Executive Committee.

Prior to her appointment at the FCDO, she was the Chief Economist of the Department for International Development (DFID) and from 2004-2017, she was Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), a research centre in the Economics Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that seeks to reduce poverty by ensuring policy is informed by scientific evidence.

Glennerster’s work has spanned reform of the international financial system, debt, promoting innovation, education, health, financial regulation, and women’s empowerment in Russia, Africa and Southeast Asia. In addition to FCDO, DFID and MIT, Glennerster has held positions at the International Monetary Fund, Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Harvard Institute for International Development.

Nancy Birdsall

Nancy Birdsall is president emeritus and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a policy-oriented research institution that opened its doors in Washington, D.C. in October 2001. Prior to launching the Center, Birdsall served for three years as senior associate and director of the Economic Reform Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her work at Carnegie focused on issues of globalization and inequality, as well as on the reform of the international financial institutions.

From 1993 to 1998, Birdsall was executive vice-president of the Inter-American Development Bank, the largest of the regional development banks, where she oversaw a $30 billion public and private loan portfolio. Before joining the Inter-American Development Bank, she spent 14 years in research, policy, and management positions at the World Bank, including as director of the Policy Research Department.

Birdsall is the author, co-author, or editor of more than a dozen books and monographs, including, Delivering on Debt Relief: From IMF Gold to a New Aid Architecture, The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President, Fair Growth: Economic Policies for Latin America's Poor and Middle-Income Majority, and New Ideas in Development after the Financial Crisis. She is author of over 100 published papers, including dozens in peer-reviewed journals. Shorter pieces of her writing have appeared in US and international magazines and newspapers.

Her most recent work focuses on global governance and the international financial institutions, women’s empowerment and its relationship to reproductive choices, and the financing of global public goods for development.

Birdsall serves on the Board of Directors of the International Food Policy Research Council (IFPRI), the African Population and Health Research Center, and Mathematica. She is a member of the Williams College Center for Development Economics Visiting Committee. She has chaired the board of the International Center for Research on Women and has served on the boards of the Social Science Research Council, Overseas Development Council, and Accion. She has also served on committees and working groups of the National Academy of Sciences.

Birdsall holds a PhD in economics from Yale University and an MA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

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