Director, SDSN, and Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University, USA
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Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He is the co-recipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global prize for environmental leadership, and many other international awards and honors. He has twice been named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. He was called by the New York Times, “probably the most important economist in the world,” and by Time magazine, “the world’s best known economist.” A survey by The Economist in 2011 ranked Professor Sachs as amongst the world’s three most influential living economists of the first decade of the 21st century.
Professor Sachs serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He is University Professor at Columbia University, the university’s highest academic rank. During 2002 to 2016 he served as the Director of the Earth Institute. Sachs is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on the Sustainable Development Goals, and previously advised UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on both the Sustainable Development Goals and Millennium Development Goals and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria.
Sachs is currently Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network under the auspices of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and a Commissioner of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Development. He is Chair and Founder of SDG USA, a non-governmental initiative to promote the Sustainable Development Goal concepts in the United States. Sachs is also co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, and was director of the Millennium Villages Project (2005-2015).
Sachs has authored and edited numerous books, including three New York Times bestsellers: The End of Poverty (2005), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008), and The Price of Civilization (2011). His recent books include: To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace (2013), The Age of Sustainable Development (2015) and Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair & Sustainable (2017). Professor Sachs is widely considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on economic development, global macroeconomics, and the fight against poverty. His work on ending poverty, overcoming macroeconomic instability, promoting economic growth, fighting hunger and disease, and promoting sustainable environmental practices, has taken him to more than 125 countries with more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more than thirty years he has advised dozens of heads of state and governments on economic strategy, in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. He was among the outside advisors to Pope John Paul II on the encyclical Centesimus Annus and in recent years has worked closely with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on the issues of sustainable development, especially in the context of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’.
Prior to his arrival at Columbia University in July 2002, Sachs spent over twenty years as a professor at Harvard University, most recently as Director of the Center for International Development and the Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade.
Sachs was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1954. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Harvard College in 1976, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1978 and 1980, respectively. He joined the Harvard faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1980, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1982 and Full Professor in the fall of 1983, at the age of 28.