Williams economics professor Jerry Caprio ’72 once gave an exam with a question that began: “Suppose you are the advisor to the prime minister…” One of his students, a fellow of Williams’ Center for Development Economics (CDE), wrote in response, “I am the advisor to the prime minister in my country, and here is how I would answer…”
Imagine the experience of sitting next to that person in class, learning beside him or her, working on projects together, dining together. Eeach year, dozens of Williams economics majors get that chance when they enroll in graduate-level courses at the CDE, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The CDE’s founders envisioned a one-year master’s degree program for experienced professionals in developing countries who would come to Williams to learn economic development theory and practice and then return home to serve as advisors or senior officials. Not only would such a program enable the college to play an important role in global economic development, but it also would bring citizens and issues of the world to Williams. CDE fellows have gone on to remarkable careers as ministers of finance, heads of central banks, government budget directors, advisors to presidents, executive directors of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, ambassadors—and two prime ministers.
Former economics professor and Williams provost Steve Lewis ’60 has been associated with the CDE for the better part of its existence. He shares his perspective on the program’s first half-century in the March 2011 Williams Alumni Review. (Read the text-only version here.)