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Plenary Speakers & Chairs | 2019 Global Development Conference

Bina Agarwal is a professor of development economics and environment at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, UK. Prior to this, she was director and professor of economics at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University, where she continues to be affiliated. Educated at the Universities of Cambridge and Delhi, Agarwal has held distinguished teaching and research positions at many universities, including Harvard, Michigan, Minnesota (as the Winton Chair), and the New York University School of Law and Princeton. She was Harvard’s first Daniel Ingalls Visiting Professor and later a research fellow at the Ash Institute, Kennedy School of Government. She has also been a fellow of Radcliffe’s Bunting Institute at Harvard.

Joachim von Braun is currently a professor at the Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, and the president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences of the Vatican. He has previously been associated with the International Food Policy Research Institute and the International Association of Agricultural Economics. His research addresses international and development economics topics including markets and trade, poverty, health and nutrition, agriculture and science and technology. He is a member of Academy of Science of North-Rhine Westphalia, German Academy of Science and Engineering and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. Von Braun has a doctoral degree in agriculture economics from the University of Göttingen, Germany.

Mauricio Cárdenas, an economist, who served, previously, as Colombia’s minister of finance and public credit from 2012 to 2018. He is currently a visiting professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. As finance minister, Cárdenas oversaw a successful adjustment program that preserved high investment rates and produced reductions in poverty and inequality during the oil shock of the mid-2010s. He was previously the chairman of the boards of governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Blank, and the chairman of the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four (G-24). Holding a PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, Cárdenas has also twice been the executive director of Fedesarrollo, a think tank in Colombia that conducts research on economic and social policy and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, leading the Latin American Initiative.

Máximo Torero Cullen is the assistant director-general, Economic and Social Development Department of the Food and Agricultural Organization since January 2019. He has previously been the World Bank Group's executive director for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay and has led the Division of the Markets, Trade and Institutions at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). His research work lies in analyzing poverty, inequality, importance of geography and assets in explaining poverty, in policies oriented towards poverty alleviation based on the role played by infrastructure, institutions, and on how technological breakthroughs can improve the welfare of households and small farmers. Torero Cullen holds a PhD in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.


Jörg Faust is currently director at the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval). He has studied business administration, economics and political science at Mannheim University and has a doctoral degree in political science from the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. He is also a professor of political science at the University of Duisburg-Essen and member of the scientific advisory board for the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI). He has numerous scientific and practice-oriented publications in national and international publications and has extensive experience in implementing and managing complex research, consultancy and evaluation projects.

Amanda Glassman is executive vice president and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and also serves as chief executive officer of CGD Europe. Her research focuses on priority-setting, resource allocation and value for money in global health, as well as data for development. Prior to her current position, she served as director for global health policy at the Center from 2010 to 2016 and has more than 25 years of experience working on health and social protection policy and programs in Latin America and elsewhere in the developing world.

Sir Peter Gluckman is the former chief science adviser to the prime minister of New Zealand and the chair of the International Network for Government Science Advice. He is also the president-elect of the newly formed International Science Council. The International Science Council combines two longstanding organizations — the International Council for Science and the International Social Science Council and is intended to provide global leadership on complex issues that can be addressed through the application of transdisciplinary science. Sir Peter also leads the secretariat of the Small Advanced Economies Initiative and continues to serve New Zealand through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in a science diplomacy capacity. He is currently co-developing the Centre for Science in Policy, Diplomacy, and Society (SciPoDS) as part of the University of Auckland’s Public Policy Institute.

Pierre Jacquet is the fourth president of the Global Development Network (GDN). Formerly chief economist of the French Development Agency (AFD) between 2002 and 2012, he also served as the executive director in charge of strategy from 2002 to 2010. Preceding AFD, he was deputy director of the French Institute on International Relations (IFRI), where he was responsible for the economic program and was chief editor of IFRI's quarterly review Politique Etrangère. From 1994 to 2012, Pierre Jacquet was president of the Department of Economic and Social Sciences and professor of International Economics at the Ecole nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, a renowned French graduate engineering school. He has also lectured in various business schools and universities such as INSEAD, Sciences-Po, the Paris School of Economics (PSE) and Ecole nationale d’ Administration (ENA).

Ruth Levine will be a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University for the 2019-20 academic year. She was the program director of the Global Development and Population Program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation between 2011-19. Previously, Levine was a deputy assistant administrator in the Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning at the U.S. Agency for International Development. In that role, she led the development of the agency’s evaluation policy. She spent nearly a decade at the Center for Global Development, as a senior fellow and vice president for programs and operations; she co-founded the Center’s Global Health Policy Program. She also designed and evaluated health and education projects at the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank. 

Justin Yifu Lin is the dean of the Institute of New Structural Economics and Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development. He has previously been the senior vice president and the chief economist of the World Bank. Lin is also a corresponding fellow of the British Academy and a fellow of the Academy of Sciences for Developing World. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago and has authored more than 30 books including Beating the Odds: Jump-Starting Developing Economics, Demystifying the Chinese Economy, Going beyond Aid, New Structural Economics, and The Quest for Prosperity.


Dirk Messner is the director of the United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) in Bonn, Germany. He is also the co-director of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/ Centre for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen. He is an internationally recognized expert on the topics of global change and global governance, the evolution of human cooperation, sustainability in the digital age, transformation pathways to sustainable development, decarbonization of the global economy and societal change. Messner is a member of a number of high-ranking policy advisory councils and his engagements include co-chairing the German Advisory Council on Global Change, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Germany and the Science Platform Sustainability 2030. He previously also served as a member of the World Bank’s Global Knowledge Council and the China Council on Global Cooperation on Development and Environment. He is a member of the Earth League, an alliance of leading sustainability and earth system scholars. He is the author or co-author of more than 300 publications.

Jakob Rhyner is currently the science director of the Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research/Innovation Campus Bonn (ICB) and the professor of global change and systemic risks at the agricultural faculty of the University of Bonn. With a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Rhyner has previously worked with ABB Ltd, the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research and the United Nations University. He was the vice rector in Europe and director of UNU-Environment and Human Security. He is a member of the Science and Technology Advisory Group at the UN Secretariat for Disaster Risk Reduction, co-chair of the Governing Council of Future Earth Decade Initiative and was previously on the board of the German Committee for Disaster Prevention.

Imme Scholz is acting director of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). From 2009-2018 she had been deputy director, and between 2002-2009 she headed the department on environmental policy and natural resource management at DIE where she introduced work related to climate change into the institute’s research and policy advice activities. She is a member of the German Council for Sustainable Development since 2013 and was part of a task force on greening China’s South-South Cooperation. She has published extensively on several topics at the interface of environment and development, including the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, adaptation to climate change, and sustainable forest use. In the 1980s, she studied sociology at the Freie Universität Berlin where she did her doctorate in 1999 after joining DIE in 1992. Between 1999 and 2002, she worked for German Development Cooperation as an environmental policy advisor in the Brazilian Amazon. Copyright: DIE.

Svenja Schulze is the German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Prior to that she was the North Rhine-Westphalia’s State Minister for Innovation, Science and Research from 2010 to 2017 and has also been the chairwoman of the youth section of the Social Democratic Party in North Rhine-Westphalia. She studied German Studies and Political Science at Ruhr-Universität Bochum and has also worked as a management consultant specializing in the public sector.

Howard White is the chief executive officer of Campbell Collaboration. He was previously the founding executive director of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) and has led the impact evaluation program of the World Bank's Independent Evaluation Group. He started his career as an academic researcher at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, and the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. As an academic, he leans towards work with policy relevance and working in the policy field believes in academic rigor as the basis for policy and practice.


John Young, the executive director of the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications, has spent nearly 40 years working to promote greater use of research-based evidence in development policy and practice. After graduating as a veterinarian, he spent 20 years in Sri Lanka, Kenya and Indonesia developing, implementing and testing new approaches to animal health care, livestock and agricultural production, rural development, and decentralized public services. He also developed and lead the Research and Policy Development Programme at Overseas Development Institute, researching and advising international NGOs and bilateral and multilateral development organizations on research, communication policy engagement and influence, organizational and institutional development, capacity development, and monitoring evaluation and learning.

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