Dr. Lawrence Summers is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus of Harvard University. During the past two decades, he has served in a series of senior policy positions in Washington, D.C., including the 71st Secretary of the Treasury for President Clinton, Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama and Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank. He became a full professor at age 28, one of the youngest in Harvard’s recent history. He directs the University’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government. Dr. Summers was the first social scientist to receive the National Science Foundation’s Alan Waterman Award for scientific achievement and, in 1993, he was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, given to the most outstanding economist under 40 in the United States. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2002.
During the 1990s, he was a leader in crafting the U.S. response to international financial crises arising in Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Japan, and Asian emerging markets. As one of President Obama’s chief economic advisors, Dr. Summers’ thinking helped shape the U.S. response to the 2008 financial crisis, to the failure of the automobile industry, and to the pressures on the European monetary system. The Economist recognized his influence when it defined the “Summers Doctrine,” an approach to economic policy during financial crises that fuses a microeconomic “laissez faire” mentality with macroeconomic activism.
Dr. Summers’ five years as President of Harvard represented a time of major innovation for the University. He focused on equality of opportunity and removing all financial obligation from students with family incomes below $60,000 a year. He launched a major effort to make Boston, and Cambridge in particular, the global leader in life sciences research, with the formation of major programs for stem cell research and genomics. Perhaps most importantly, he led efforts to renew Harvard College with dramatic increases in study abroad programs, faculty-student contact, and collaboration across the University during his tenure.
Summers is an advisor to businesses and investors. He serves on the board of Square and Premise. He chairs the board of the Center for Global Development and serves on the board of ONE. He is an advisor to The Hamilton Project, The Hutchins Center on Fiscal & Monetary Policy and the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He is a distinguished senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and recently co-chaired the Commission on Inclusive Prosperity. He recently launched a Task Force on Fiscal Policy with Mayor Bloomberg and chaired the Commission on Global Health.
In his speeches, regular newspaper columns in The Washington Post and public commentary, he continues to move forward the debate on national and global economic policy.
Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger is a Research Affiliate at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, a Fellow of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy and of MIT Connection Science and Adjunct Professor at the Imperial College Business School.
He retired from IBM in May of 2007 after a 37-year career with the company, where his primary focus was on innovation and technical strategy. He led a number of IBM’s companywide initiatives including the Internet, Supercomputing and Linux. He’s been Adviser on Digital Strategy and Innovation at Citigroup, at HBO, and at MasterCard.
Since 2005 Dr. Wladawsky-Berger has been writing a weekly blog, irvingwb.com, which has also been published in the Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal since April of 2012. He is a Senior Fellow of the Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern University, a Distinguished Associate of the Energy Futures Initiative; chairman of the r4 Advisory Board, a member of the Advisory Board of USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab and of AiRo Digital Labs, and a Director of the Board of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives.
He was co-chair of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, as well as a founding member of the Computer Sciences and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council. He is a former member of the University of Chicago Board of Governors for Argonne National Laboratories, of the Board of Overseers for Fermilab and of BP’s Technology Advisory Council. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A native of Cuba, he was named the 2001 Hispanic Engineer of the Year. Dr. Wladawsky-Berger received an M.S. and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago.
Dr. Mihir Desai is the Mizuho Financial Group Professor of Finance at Harvard Business School and a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He received his Ph. D. in political economy from Harvard University; his MBA as a Baker Scholar from Harvard Business School; and a bachelor's degree in history and economics from Brown University. In 1994, he was a Fulbright Scholar to India.
Professor Desai's areas of expertise include tax policy, international finance, and corporate finance. His academic publications have appeared in leading economics, finance, and law journals. His work has emphasized the appropriate design of tax policy in a globalized setting, the links between corporate governance and taxation, and the internal capital markets of multinational firms. His research has been cited in The Economist, BusinessWeek, The New York Times, and several other publications. He is a Research Associate in the National Bureau of Economic Research's Public Economics and Corporate Finance Programs and served as the co-director of the NBER's India program.
From 2008 to 2011, Professor Desai led HBS's doctoral programs, which include the DBA and joint programs with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In that role, he led the restructuring of various programs and initiated a terminal master's program. From 2010 to 2014, Professor Desai was the Senior Associate Dean for Planning and University Affairs, where he was part of the senior management team of the Business School focused on integration with the rest of the University. Specifically, he has launched a program for Harvard undergraduates to collaborate on research with HBS professors (PRIMO), led the course for undergraduates described above, helped launch the Harvard Innovation Lab, worked on campus planning efforts including the design of Tata Hall and served on the newly created Harvard Libraries Board.
His professional experiences include working at CS First Boston (1989-1991), McKinsey & Co. (1992), and advising a number of firms and governmental organizations. He is also on the Advisory Board of the International Tax Policy Forum and the Centre for Business Taxation at Oxford University.
Dr. Stephanie Kelton is a leading authority on Modern Monetary Theory, a new approach to economics that is taking the world by storm. She is considered one of the most important voices influencing the policy debate today. Her forthcoming book, The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and Creating an Economy for the People (summer 2020), shows how to break free of the flawed thinking that has hamstrung policymakers around the world.
In addition to her many academic publications, she has been a contributor at Bloomberg Opinion and has written for the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, U.S. News & World Reports, CNN, and others.
Professor Kelton has worked in both academia and politics. She served as chief economist on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee (Democratic staff) in 2015 and as a senior economic adviser to Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. She currently works as a Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Stony Brook University, and she holds Visiting Professorships at The New School for Social Research, the University of Ljubljana, and the University of Adelaide. She is a member of the TopWonks network of the nation’s best thinkers and one of POLITICO’s 50 Most Influential Thinkers (2016). She was previously Chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.