Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard Kennedy School
Lawrence H. Summers is one of the most distinguished voices in America today on issues ranging from the global economy to education to the role of the US in the world.
Perhaps the most important economist of his generation, Lawrence Summers has served as President of Harvard University, US Treasury Secretary and Chief Economist of the World Bank. One of the youngest tenured professors in the modern history of Harvard, he is the only social scientist ever to receive the National Science Foundation’s $500,000 Alan T. Waterman Award for Scientific Achievement.
Throughout his term at Harvard from July 2001 to June 2006, Dr. Summers was an outspoken and forceful advocate of reform in higher education. His accomplishments included the elimination of tuition burdens for low and middle income families with incomes under $60,000 and the placement of the life sciences at the center of Harvard’s work.
Dr. Summers served in senior positions in the Treasury Department throughout the administration of President Bill Clinton, rising to serve as Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001. His service coincided with the longest period of sustained economic growth in United States history. He was closely involved in the response to financial crises in Mexico, Asia and Russia.
Prior to joining the Treasury, Dr. Summers served as Chief Economist of the World Bank, where he developed deep interest and expertise with respect to the economies of developing countries. His own work included a highly influential economic analysis arguing that providing primary and secondary education to girls was the highest return investment available in many developing countries.