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Secretary-General's MDG Advocay Group

Secretary General's MDG Advocacy Group

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Photo of Jeffrey D. Sachs

Jeffrey D. Sachs,
United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the MDGs (United States)

Jeffrey D. Sachs is Director of the Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

From 2002 to 2006, he was Director of the UN Millennium Project and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed goals to reduce extreme poverty, disease, and hunger by the year 2015. Sachs is also President and Co-Founder of Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization aimed at ending extreme global poverty.

Prior to his arrival at Columbia University in July 2002, Sachs spent over twenty years at Harvard University, most recently as Director of the Center for International Development and Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade.

Sachs is widely considered to be the leading international economic advisor of his generation. For more than twenty years Sachs has been in the forefront of the challenges of economic development, poverty alleviation and enlightened globalization, promoting policies to help all parts of the world to benefit from expanding economic opportunities and wellbeing. He is also one of the leading voices for combining economic development with environmental sustainability, and as Director of the Earth Institute leads large-scale efforts to promote the mitigation of human-induced climate change.

Sachs is internationally renowned for his work as economic advisor to governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia and Africa, and his work with international agencies on problems of poverty reduction, debt cancellation for the poorest countries and disease control.

He is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and has been an advisor to the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Development Program, among other international agencies. During 2000-2001, he was Chairman of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health of the World Health Organization, and from September 1999 through March 2000 he served as a member of the International Financial Institutions Advisory Commission established by the U.S. Congress.

He is author of hundreds of scholarly articles and many books, including the New York Times bestsellers Common Wealth (Penguin, 2008) and The End of Poverty (Penguin, 2005).

Sachs is the recipient of many awards and honors, including membership in the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Society of Fellows, and the Fellows of the World Econometric Society.

Sachs was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1954. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Harvard College in 1976, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1978 and 1980 respectively. He joined the Harvard faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1980, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1982 and Full Professor in 1983.

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