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Gita Gopinath becomes IMF’s chief economist; makes Indians proud


There is a sense of pride in India as Mysuru-born Gita Gopinath joins International Monetary Fund (IMF) as its chief economist, becoming the first woman to occupy the top IMF post.

The John Zwaanstra professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University, Ms Gopinath, 47, succeeds Maurice (Maury) Obstfeld as Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF’s Research Department. Mr Obstfeld retired on December 31. She is a co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She is also the Economic Adviser to the Chief Minister of Kerala.

Gopinath was born in Mysuru and did her schooling in Nirmala Convent School in Mysuru. She is the younger of two daughters of TV Gopinath and VC Vijayalakshmi, both of whom hail from Kannur, Kerala. She holds a B.A. from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi (1992), Masters in Economics from Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi (1994) and completed her M.A. at the University of Washington (1996). In 2001, she completed her Ph.D at Princeton University and was awarded the Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Research Award while doing her doctorate at Princeton.

In October 2018, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde appointed Ms. Gopinath as Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF’s Research Department. In 2018, she was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2017, she received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Washington. She was named one of the top 25 economists under 45 by IMF in 2014 and was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011.

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