News Release

Lael Brainard to Hold the Bernard L. Schwartz Chair in International Economics

May 4, 2006

Lael Brainard was a Brookings senior fellow from 2001 to 2009, and served as the vice president and director of the Global Economy and Development program from June 2006 to March 16, 2009. Brainard has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs.

Lael Brainard, vice president and director of the Global Economy and Development Center at the Brookings Institution, will be the first Brookings scholar to hold the Bernard L. Schwartz Chair in International Economics, Brookings president Strobe Talbott announced today.

“As the holder of the Schwartz Chair, Lael will hold our work at Brookings to the very highest standards of open-mindedness, hard-headedness, and independent thinking that has characterized Bernard Schwartz’s leadership as a corporate statesman,” said Talbott. “Bernard has devoted his career to investing in ideas that matter – ideas that have impact in the real world and in real time. We are all privileged that he has chosen to invest in this Institution and in this initiative.”

The Bernard L. Schwartz Chair in International Economics will tackle some of the hardest questions in international economics, including how to address trade, technology, intellectual property rights, and an increasingly global economy while ensuring American competitiveness. Brainard will address the multifaceted dimensions of globalization and competitiveness, and will also have the opportunity to conduct and publish research, organize conferences, workshops, briefings and forums on these issues for policy-makers and the general public.

The first Bernard L. Schwartz Forum on U.S. Competitiveness, held on April 28, opened with a discussion on U.S. education, innovation, and research and development. Keynote addresses were given by Dr. Susan Hockfield, president, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Bruce Mehlman, former assistant secretary of Commerce for technology policy under President George W. Bush, and co-founder, Mehlman, Vogel, & Castagnetti, Inc.

“Lael’s experience, education and leadership make her particularly well-equipped to question current orthodoxies and to conduct an open-minded examination of America’s strengths and weaknesses in our global world,” said Bernard L. Schwartz, retired chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Loral Space & Communications. “I’m honored to be working with Brookings in this arena. This Chair will serve to address the critical policy issues that will strengthen U.S. competitiveness and the forums will serve as a platform for broad public discussion on how to maximize our considerable strengths.”

Brainard served as Deputy National Economic Adviser and Chair of the Deputy Secretaries Committee on International Economics during the Clinton Administration. As Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, she helped build a new White House organization to address global economic challenges such as the Asian financial crisis and China’s WTO entry. As the US Sherpa to the G8, she helped shape the 2000 G8 Development Summit that for the first time included leaders of the poorest nations and laid the foundations for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria.

The Bernard L. Schwartz Forum on U.S. Competitiveness is intended to address topics including U.S. trends regarding investments in research and development, innovation, and education, the rise of China as an emerging high-tech exporter and the future of the U.S. manufacturing industry. The forum will gather business executives and entrepreneurs, policy-makers, labor leaders, and academics to explore working solutions to the challenge of keeping the United States competitive.

For more information on Brookings’s work on global trade, competitiveness, finance and development, please visit

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