Kemal Derviş, until recently the administrator of the United Nations Development Program, joins the Brookings Institution today as a vice president and the director of the Global Economy and Development program, Brookings President Strobe Talbott announced.
Derviş replaces Lael Brainard, who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs. Derviş also assumes the title of the Edward M. Bernstein Scholar, previously held by Douglas Elmendorf, a former Brookings senior fellow who now serves as director of the Congressional Budget Office.
“I am delighted that a scholar and statesman of Kemal’s stature, experience, and expertise has agreed to succeed Lael, who was, in 2005, the founding director of Brookings’s newest research program,” Talbott said. “We at the Institution are committed to establishing ourselves as a truly global think tank, and Kemal both personifies that aspiration and will provide outstanding leadership in achieving it. He has excelled in academe, at the World Bank, in service to his native Turkey, and, during his distinguished tenure at UNDP, in service to humanity as a whole. He is a world-class economist who understands the realms of national and international politics as well as the nexus between threats to our natural environment and to human security. Since the prospects for ‘a better globalization’—the title of Kemal’s latest book—are clouded by crisis, his arrival at Brookings is especially timely. Through both his own work and the vision and energy he will bring to the task of building on Lael’s legacy, Kemal will contribute solutions to the great challenges of our time.”
Derviş was administrator of the UNDP from August 2005 through February 2009, and also chaired the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all U.N. funds, programs and departments focused on development issues at the country level. At the United Nations, he focused extensively on development policy, economic interdependence, economic governance, climate change, post-conflict recovery, human rights and women’s empowerment.
Prior to his appointment with the United Nations, Derviş was a member of the Turkish Parliament representing Istanbul from November 2002 to June 2005. He also served as minister for economic affairs and the treasury for the Republic of Turkey from March 2001 to August 2002, when he led Turkey’s economic recovery program following the country’s 2001 financial crisis.
Derviş will join U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon as special advisor at the London meeting of the G-20 in the next few days.
The Global Economy and Development program houses the Wolfensohn Center for Development, founded in 2006 by James D. Wolfensohn, former president of the World Bank and a member of the Brookings Board of Trustees. The Center collaborates with partners around the world to seek effective solutions to key development challenges in order to create a more prosperous and stable world. The Center’s three main projects focus on aid effectiveness, early child development, and Middle East youth.
“I am delighted to be joining Brookings, especially at a moment of such importance,” Derviş said. “The nature of globalization is changing, with enormous challenges and implications for both developed and developing nations. Supporting the design of policy proposals that will allow the world to overcome the worst economic crisis in decades and stage a strong worldwide recovery will be my first priority. I look forward to working with my friend Jim Wolfensohn, with fond memories of his leadership at the World Bank and his unwavering commitment to better the lives of the most vulnerable.”
Derviş who has been actively engaged in the work of many international task forces and research institutes, will serve as a member of Sabanci University’s International Board of Overseers and contribute to the work of its Istanbul Policy Center starting in May 2009.
“I am pleased that I will be able to maintain a strong relationship with Sabanci University in Turkey,” Derviş added, “I hope it will be a good example of cooperation between Brookings and centers of excellence in many countries.”
Derviş has served on the International Task Force on Global Public Goods, which was co-chaired by Ernesto Zedillo, and the Special Commission on the Balkans, chaired by Giuliano Amato. While at the World Bank, he had been in charge of the international program in support of Bosnia’s economic reconstruction in the immediate post-war period. He is a member of the Commission on Growth and Development, a World Bank-sponsored group chaired by Michael Spence, which released a comprehensive report in May 2008, and of other groups working on global or regional issues.
He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University, and Bachelor and Master’s degrees in economics from the London School of Economics. He has published numerous academic and policy articles as well as several books. His latest book, A Better Globalization, was commissioned by the Center for Global Development and published by the Brookings Institution Press in 2005.
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and policy solutions. Its mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations for policymakers and the public.