Renowned economist named commencement speaker

Jagdish Bhagwati has been named the afternoon speaker at Northeastern's commencement. Photo by Peter Freed

April 16, 2010

Jagdish Bhagwati, a renowned economist and a chief proponent of free trade, has been named the afternoon speaker at Northeastern University’s commencement on May 7 for the class of 2010.

Born in India, Bhagwati is currently the University Professor at Columbia University and Senior Fellow for International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a director of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Bhagwati is a highly regarded expert on economic issues who has served in multiple key advisory roles, including as a special advisor to the United Nations on globalization and as an external advisor to the World Trade Organization.  From 1991 to 1993, he was an economic policy advisor to the Director-General of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

“Jagdish Bhagwati’s brilliant scholarship has had a significant impact on both the discipline of economics and on the way we understand globalization and free trade today,” said President Joseph E. Aoun, “His life’s work is emblematic of Northeastern’s commitment to conducting research that adds to the foundation of knowledge and addresses societal concerns.”

Bhagwati was also an advisor on economic reforms to India’s former Finance Minister, Manmohan Singh, who is now the Prime Minister. The reforms he helped implement have been credited to accelerating the country’s economic growth and global economic status. His work has also focused on reducing poverty across the world.

A highly acclaimed author, Bhagwati has received accolades for his most recent books – "Free Trade Today" (2002), "In Defense of Globalization" (2004) and "Termites in the Trading System: How Preferential Agreements Undermine Free Trade" (2008). In addition to his extensive scholarly writings, he has also been published widely in mainstream media, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times.

Bhagwati will also receive an honorary degree at commencement. The afternoon ceremony for advanced degree recipients will take place at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena at 3:30 p.m.

The previously announced afternoon commencement speaker, C. K. Prahalad, a distinguished professor at the University of Michigan and prominent corporate strategist, passed away on Friday, April 16 after a brief illness. He was 68 years old.

For more information, please contact Greg St.Martin at 617-373-5463 or at g.stmartin@neu.edu.

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