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Who Is Nemat Shafik? First Woman President In Columbia University’s 268-Year history

Nemat Shafik
In a historic announcement, Columbia University, one of the most prestigious institutions worldwide, named  Nemat Shafik as its new president. Shafik will soon assume the presidency as the 20th leader of the Ivy League institution. The search for someone suitable to assume the role was on for quite some time now ever since current president Lee C. Bollinger had earlier declared that he will be stepping down from his position at the end of the academic year 2022-2023.

60-year-old Nemat Shafik will take over as the first woman president in the history of the Ivy League institution as she is all set to replace present president Lee Bollinger. Not just Columbia, universities like Harvard and Dartmouth, have too, appointed women as their presidents in the past few months. Shafik’s appointment comes months after Harvard University announced Claudine Gay as its new president. Gay is the first black woman to hold this position at a university like Harvard.

Who is Nemat Shafik?

Nemat Shafik, 60, is an economist. She has served as the president of the London School of Economics since 2017. Shafik was 4 years old when her family moved from Egypt to the United States in the 1960s. She pursued her undergraduate education in economics and politics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and then went on to complete her master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics. Shafik earned a PhD in economics at Oxford University.

Having served as the vice president of the World Bank, Shafik has an extensive amount of experience as an economist and her association with the finest financial institutions across the world vouch for that. She also served as the deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the deputy governor at the Bank of England.

Track record for making history

At 36, Shafik served as the youngest vice president of the World Bank. 

Shafik was not just the first woman to assume the presidency at the London School of Economics but also the first woman to hold the position of a permanent secretary at the U.K. Department for International Development.

Often called Minouche, the economist who will assume her role on July 1, 2023, is deemed the perfect candidate for the job, according to a statement by Columbia University. “Her unshakable confidence in the essential role institutions of higher education can and must play in solving the world’s most complex problems is what sets her apart. Like all of us in Columbia, she believes that in order to bring about meaningful change, we have a collective obligation to combine our distinctive intellectual capacities with groups and organisations beyond our academy.”


Suggested reading: Who Is Kristalina Georgieva? The Chief Of the International Monetary Fund

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