British-Egyptian economist named as new head of LSE

Nemat Shafik
Nemat Shafik

A British-Egyptian economist has been appointed the first woman to head London School of Economics – one of the world’s leading universities.

Dame Minouche Shafik, also known as Nemat Shafik, will leave her current job as deputy governor of the Bank of England next September.

She will become the first permanent female director of the London School of Economics in its 121-year history.

Shafik will step down from her position in the Bank of England – where she was a member of the Monetary Policy Committe, which sets interest rates – in February.

Egyptian roots

Born in Alexandria in 1962, Shafik emigrated to the US at the age of four. She returned to Egypt for a year to study at the American University in Cairo and completed a BA in economics and politics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

As an alumna of LSE – where she gained her master’s in economics – she has long-standing connections to the school’s research and public engagement programme.

“I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead the LSE,” she said.

“The school’s long tradition of bringing the best of social science research and teaching to bear on the problems of the day is needed now more than ever.”

Leading position

Shafik said she was looking forward to working with academics and students and help guide the insitution through challenging times.

“LSE is a unique institution that combines intellectual excellence and global reach.”

Shafik previously held a top position at the International Monetary Fund, where she oversaw work in Europe and the Middle East.

Prior to the IMF, she was responsible for the UK’s development efforts at the department for international development, overseeing aid programmes in more than 100 countries, financing for the United Nations, European Union and international financial institutions.

Shafik was also the youngest ever vice-president at the World Bank.

Her appointment at LSE, effective from September 2017, makes her the school’s 16th director.

“This is an exciting time for the school,” said LSE’s acting chairman Alan Elias.

“A lot is happening already and now we are delighted to be welcoming an outstanding leader with such an exemplary track record and with a global standing to match LSE’s own international reach and reputation.”

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