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José Antonio Ocampo is a Colombian economist, sociologist and politician and currently Director of the Economic and Political Development Concentration at the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University in New York.
He is a member of the Committee on Global Thought and Co-President of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University. He is also the Chair of the Committee for Development Policy, an expert committee of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
He formerly chaired the panel created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) board to review the activities of the IMF Independent Evaluation Office (2012-2013). In 2009 he was a member of the Commission of Experts of the United Nations General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System. He was United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, running the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) of the United Nations at the organization’s headquarters in New York and chairing the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs. Upon his appointment to this post by Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, he became the highest-ranking Colombian official in the history of the United Nations.
Before holding these positions, he was Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) (1998-2003) and held a number of posts in his country’s government, including those of Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Director of the National Planning Department and Minister of Agriculture.
As an academic, he has been the Director of the Foundation for Higher Education and Development (FEDESARROLLO), Professor in the Faculty of Economics of Los Andes University (Colombia) and the National University of Colombia, and Visiting Fellow at the universities of Cambridge, Yale and Oxford. He has published numerous books and articles on macroeconomic theory and policy, economic development, international trade and economic history. He holds a doctorate in Economics from Yale University and a degree in Economics and Sociology from Notre Dame University, both in the United States.
He has received a number of personal honours and distinctions, including the Alejandro Ángel Escobar National Science Award of Colombia, the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought and the Jaume Vicens Vives Prize of the Spanish Association of Economic History, among others. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of San Marcos in Lima (Peru) (1998), the National University of Colombia (2013) and Complutense University in Madrid (Spain) (2014).