Columbia University Names Nemat Shafik as Its First Woman President

Nemat “Minouche” Shafik was appointed the twentieth president of Columbia University in New York City. When she takes office on July 1, , she will be the first woman to lead the Ivy League university.

Current Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger said of his successor, “I feel like, if I had looked all over the world for the best person to next lead Columbia, I would have chosen Minouche Shafik. Her expertise, her experiences — both personal and professional — and her general outlook on academic and public life make her an inspired appointment.”

Dr. Shafik has led the London School of Economics and Political Science since 2017. Earlier, she held faculty appointments at the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania and the economics department at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In 2008, she was appointed permanent secretary of the Department for International Development for the United Kingdom. Dr. Shafik began her career at the World Bank, becoming the bank’s youngest-ever vice president at the age of 36. She has edited, co-authored, or authored numerous articles and books, including, most recently, What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract (Princeton University Press, 2021).

Dr. Shafik was born in Alexandria, Egypt. When she was 4 years old, her family fled the country during President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s nationalization program. Her father, a scientist, found work in the United States, where he had earned a Ph.D.

Dr. Shafik holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and politics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She earned a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Ph.D. in economics from St Antony’s College of Oxford University.

Below is a video of Dr. Shafik commenting on her appointment as president of Columbia University.

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