Jeffrey Sachs is a celebrated economist, professor and the Director of The Earth Institute at the Columbia University. Apart from being a professor, he is Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary General and Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Sachs is also a successful author, having reached the New York Times bestseller list on three occasions.
Professor Sachs was born in Detroit, Michigan in November 5, 1954. After school, he attended Harvard where he received his BA, MA and his PhD. At the age of 28, he became a full-tenured professor at Harvard, one of the youngest in Harvard history. Currently, he is professor at Columbia University, where his courses are taught at the School of International and Public Affairs and the Mailman School of Public Health.
Jeffrey Sachs is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on sustainable economic development and poverty alleviation. He has worked with, and advised, many heads of state in the area of economic policy. Apart from this, he works closely with international organizations including the African Union, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Program, the World Food Program, UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB), and Malaria, among others.
He has had some important roles in international economic policy, some examples include the 1980s, where he helped various Latin American countries, such as Brazil, Bolivia and Peru to control hyperinflation in their economies. Apart from this, he was the leading proponent for reducing the debt overhang of the developing countries. Therefore, his ideas were well respected and incorporated in several debt reduction plans from the 1980s onwards. Sachs was also very important in Poland’s move from a centrally planned to a market economy. In 1989, he wrote a comprehensive transition plan for Poland, which was incorporated by Finance Minister Leszek Balcerowicz in his reform program. For helping Poland’s transition and for helping them in their successful debt reduction, Sachs was given one of Poland’s highest honors, namely the Commanders Cross of the Order of Merit. Sachs’ ideas have also helped other economies undergo healthy changes. He assisted Eastern European economies such as Slovenia and Estonia to introduce new, stable and convertible currencies. Based on his success in Poland, Sachs was also invited by President Gorbachev, to help them in their transition to a market economy. For his services to the Russian state, he received the Leontief Medal.
Sachs is a champion of the economics of sustainable development, and, as the Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia, his job is to oversee over 850 professionals in the Natural Science and Social Science departments regarding the support for sustainable global development. He helped pioneer a PhD in Sustainable Development at Columbia and also a new Masters of Development Practice (MDP), which has set a precedent for major universities across the world that have started offering this degree as well.
Sachs has worked tirelessly with India and China and helped them with their development and poverty alleviation goals. For his impressive contributions, he has received important distinctions in both countries. Apart from all his economic and policy achievements, Sachs is also a renowned author. His books have reached the New York Times bestseller list on many occasions. He writes a monthly column for Project Syndicate, a nonprofit newspaper association. His pieces also commonly appear in important journals and magazines, such as Financial Times, Scientific American, Time Magazine, and The Huffington Post.