Indian-Origin Harvard Professor Becomes First Woman Chief Economist of IMF

International Monetary Fund or IMF tweeted on 28th September announcing that Indian-origin Harvard University professor Gita Gopinath has been appointed as chief economist for the international organization. Replacing Maury Obstfeld, the outgoing chief economist who will retire in the month of December, Ms. Gopinath will be the first women to hold the position. 

Currently serving as the professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University, she is a researcher of international finance and macroeconomics. "Gita Gopinath is an outstanding economist, with impeccable academic credentials, a proven track record of intellectual leadership, and extensive international experience. I am delighted to name such a talented figure as the IMF's Chief Economist," says IMF managing director Christine Lagarde. 

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Born and brought up in India, Ms. Gopinath is a US citizen and an Overseas citizen of India. After completing her graduation from Lady Shri Ram College and Delhi School of Economics, she went the states for higher studies in the late 90s. She pursued her Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University and then served in the "eminent persons advisory group" for G20 matters in the Indian Finance Ministry in the years 2013 and 2014. She has also acted as the honorary economic adviser to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan starting from 2016. 

Ms. Gopinath first joined Harvard University in 2005 as an assistant professor. She then received tenure from the Economics Department in 2010. Alongside her teaching profession, she has served as an economic adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, co-editor of the American Economic Review and co-director of the National Bureau of Economic Research. In 2011 she was chosen as the Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. She also got named top 25 economists under age 45 by IMF in 2014. 

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“Stepping out there and engaging with policymakers when their countries are either going into crises or you have to make important policy decisions.” “That’s an experience that’s hard to replicate just sitting in my office at Harvard,” she said during an interview with Harvard Crimson. 

She will now be taking a two-year leave from the university to work for the pristine international organization of 189 countries which is working towards the economic stability of the world. Leading a team of more than 1000 researchers, her appointment is a very proud moment, proving the rise of women in male-dominated industries. She is not only an inspiration for millions of people trying to break into the economic sector but also has proven that with continued efforts of hard-work there’s no position one cannot conquer. 


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