Meet Gita Gopinath, Indian-American Honoured by Prestigious US Foundation

Gita Gopinath, who has been the Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 2019, has been recently honoured as the “2021 Great Immigrants” by Carnegie Corporation of New York in recognition of “enriching and strengthening” the US society and democracy.   

This year, the non-profit organisation has honoured 34 exceptional immigrants who tend to increase public awareness as naturalised citizens.   

As per the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the 2021 batch represents over 30 nations of origin and emphasises service to society. The honourees have been recognised for helping others as medical providers and researchers, as advocates for the disadvantaged, disabled, and disenfranchised, and as changemakers in politics, climate change, teaching, and voting rights.   

In Gopinath’s profile, the corporation noted that she is “one of the world’s outstanding economists.”   

Who is Geeta Gopinath?   

Born on December 8, 1971, in Kannur, India, Geeta Gopinath is the Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department at IMF. She is on leave of public service from Harvard University’s Economics department, the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics.   

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The 49-year-old economist’s research as the Economic Adviser to the Chief Minister of Kerala focuses on International Finance and Macroeconomics. She co-directed at the National Bureau of Economic Research and was published in many top economics journals. She has authored several research articles, including exchange rates, trade and investment, monetary policy etc.   

The Malayali woman went to Nirmala Convent School in Mysore. After receiving a BA degree from Lady Shri Ram College for Women of the University of Delhi, Gopinath pursued an MA degree in economics from Delhi School of Economics in 1994. She did another MA degree course from the University of Washington in 1996. During her PhD in economics from Princeton University, she wrote: “Three essays on international capital flows: a search theoretic approach”. For her doctoral research paper, she received the Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Research Award.    

Additionally, Gopinath is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society. In 2019, Foreign Policy named her one of the Top Global Thinkers; in 2014, under 45, she was named one of the top 25 economists, and in 2011, she was picked as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.    

In 2005, before joining the faculty of Harvard University, Gopinath served as an assistant professor of economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.   

Gopinath bagged the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman, which is the highest honour given to an overseas Indian by the Indian government.    

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