Representatives confirmed on Sept. 6, 2016, that Masood Ahmed would begin serving as the new Center for Global Development (CGD) president in early 2017. Current President Nancy Birdstall announced the end of her 15-year tenure with the organization last November. Now that the CGD has found an equally accomplished replacement, she is thrilled to welcome a leader of Ahmed’s caliber to the team.
The CGD works to change practice and policy in wealthy nations in a way that alleviates global poverty. Per the organization’s website, “We are a policy crucible where world-class scholars use independent, rigorous research to develop new knowledge and practical solutions.”
Because the organization has a proven track record of influencing developmental policy worldwide, finding a new CGD president with global reach was paramount. After conducting an intensive search, the selection committee chose Ahmed for his impressive record of service for the world’s poor.
Here are five facts about Masood Ahmed’s career that will position him for success as the new CGD president.
- Ahmed has multiple degrees from the London School of Economics (LSE).
LSE is one of the world’s leading universities. Students and faculty alike regularly produce groundbreaking research in social sciences, economics, politics, sociology, anthropology, accounting and finance. The institution boasts a roster of top researchers and Nobel Prize winners. Ahmed excelled to such a degree that he took a position as lecturer at LSE after completing his postgraduate work.
- He has held senior positions within the World Bank.
In 1983, Ahmed began working with the World Bank, which provides low-interest loans to aid programs in developing nations. Over the course of his career with the organization, he carried out emergency response, water management, flood protection and hydropower projects in nations across the globe. He also led the HIPC Debt Initiative, which provided 36 developing nations with $76 billion in funding since its inception in 1996.
- He redefined International Monetary Fund policies.
Most notable of all, perhaps, is Ahmed’s extensive work with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The organization is a collaborative effort among 189 member countries. Like the World Bank, IMF focuses on poverty reduction by way of strategic funding and the creation of financial stability in developing nations.
Ahmed joined IMF in 2000 to serve as deputy director of the Strategy, Policy and Review Department. In that seat, which he held for three years, he oversaw the organization’s conditionality guidelines. In 2005, he played an instrumental role in redrafting those guidelines for the first time in 32 years. Such guidelines focus on internal evaluations of how funds are appropriated. These principles also set up safeguards that ensure all IMF funds are repaid once recipient nations reach financial stability.
- Ahmed took on global poverty from a government seat.
Between 2003 and 2006, Ahmed served as director general for Policy and International Development of the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID). This branch of British government is the driving force behind the United Kingdom’s global development efforts.
DFID directors are tasked with ensuring that the U.K. cooperates to the fullest extent with U.N. development goals, enhancing the efficacy of British foreign aid by increasing transparency and improving international development policy.
- He led developmental efforts in the Middle East and Central Asia as an IMF director.
Ahmed’s current position, which he has held since November 2008, is IMF director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department. Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director, said that Ahmed has been a “visionary leader” in overseeing operations in the region. He will vacate this post in 2017.
Over the course of a brilliant career, the new CGD president has helped create meaningful, sustainable change in the developing world by working with some of the most influential agencies on Earth. The upward mobility of his career is indicative of a mind people trust and a voice those working for the world’s poor want to hear.
“CGD occupies a prime position in the development, policy and research worlds; in my career these have also been my worlds,” Ahmed said. While serving as the new CGD president, Ahmed will flex strategic muscles built by a lifetime of outstanding global service.
– Madeline Distasio