Harvard’s Economics professor, Gita Gopinath becomes the first woman and the second Indian to be appointed as the Chief Economist of International Monetary Fund.
IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde announced the appointment on Monday and praised Gita for her impeccable academic credentials, intellectual leadership and extensive international experience. She said, “All this makes her exceptionally well-placed to lead our research department at this important juncture.”
Gita grew up in Mysore and pursued her graduation from Delhi's Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR). She later studied at the Delhi School of Economics and then pursued her second Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Washington. In 2001, she completed her Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University, where she was mentored by economists like Ken Rogoff and former chair of the US Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke.
In academics, Gita’s specialization lies in the areas of macroeconomics and trade. However, beyond that, she has built a credible name for herself over the years and was named one of the top 25 economists under 45 by the IMF, in 2014.
As per her profile on Harvard, Gita has been a co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, member of the economic advisory panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Economic Adviser to the Chief Minister of Kerala state (India), co-editor of the American Economic Review, co-editor of the current Handbook of International Economics and was managing editor of the Review of Economic Studies. She has also served as a member of the Eminent Persons Advisory Group on G-20 Matters for India’s Ministry of Finance. In 2018, she was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In a country where most individuals in 90s opted for careers like doctor and engineer, Gita chose to be an economist. It was the 1990-91 crisis that had inspired her.
Gita once shared, “When I was doing my bachelors from Delhi University, India experienced its first major external financing and currency crisis in 1990-91. This inspired me to pursue graduate work in economics and was the foundation for my interest in international finance.”
A leader like Gita Gopinath is an inspiration for many young budding leaders, who aspire to make a difference. The amount of contribution she has made in her field and the years of her hard work displays an attitude of persistence and determination, which has now led her to get one of the most reputed positions in the world.
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