Trustees Announce Next University President
Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:
It is my great privilege to announce that Nemat “Minouche” Shafik, the current president of the London School of Economics and Political Science, has been named the 20th president of Columbia University. She will assume the role on July 1, 2023.
Minouche succeeds Lee C. Bollinger, who announced last year that he would conclude his exceptional 21-year tenure as Columbia’s president at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year.
In accordance with University Statutes and the By-Laws of the Trustees, a Presidential Search Committee was established by the Trustees last spring to identify Lee’s successor. In Minouche, we believed we found the perfect candidate: a brilliant and able global leader, a community builder, and a preeminent economist, who understands the academy and the world beyond it.
Born in Alexandria, Egypt, and raised in the U.S., Minouche holds a Bachelor of Arts (Economics and Politics) from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst; a Master of Science (Economics) from the London School of Economics and Political Science; and a Doctor of Philosophy (Economics) from St Antony's College, Oxford University.
Minouche began her career in the early 1990s at the World Bank, becoming the bank’s youngest-ever vice president. She later served as Permanent Secretary of the U.K.’s Department for International Development, where she led a reimagining of British foreign aid policy; as Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund in the midst of the European debt crisis; and as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, where she sat on all monetary, financial, and prudential policy committees and was responsible for a balance sheet of over £500 billion. During these years, she visited more than 100 countries.
In 2017, Minouche became the leader of the London School of Economics and Political Science, a large, urban university. At LSE, she has overseen vast improvements to the student experience and managed significant expansion and infrastructure projects, while maintaining a keen focus on LSE’s academic mission. As she has throughout her career, Minouche has distinguished herself as a tireless proponent of diversity and inclusion and a creative and thoughtful leader committed to cultivating—and unleashing—talent and teams in service of the public good. Her commitment to academic excellence is deep and abiding. As she has said, “what ultimately makes a great university is the excellence of its scholars. Recruiting, nurturing, and supporting outstanding scholarship is the foundation on which everything else is built.”
While her accomplishments are impressive, what set Minouche apart as a candidate was her unshakable confidence in the vital role institutions of higher education can and must play in solving the world’s most complex problems. Like all of us in the Columbia community, she believes that in order to bring about meaningful change, we have a collective obligation to combine our distinctive intellectual capacities with groups and organizations beyond the academy.
In her professional and academic work, in her public communications, including remarks at the recent COP27 opening ceremony, and in her recent book, What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract, Minouche challenges institutions and individuals to rethink how we can better support each other to address inequities and build thriving societies. At Columbia, this call to action will not only enrich our educational and research mission but also enhance our role as a neighbor and civic partner. My colleague on the Presidential Search Committee, the molecular biologist and Nobel Laureate Richard Axel, put it succinctly in noting that throughout her career, Minouche “approached problems with humanity and intellectual insight.”
On behalf of the Trustees, I extend my warmest thanks to members of the Presidential Search Committee and Advisory Committees and to Lisa Carnoy, our former co-chair, who ably led the most inclusive and exhaustive presidential search in Columbia’s history, challenging conventional wisdom and leaving no stone unturned. It was no small feat, because Lee is a remarkable leader who has transformed Columbia in his 21 years as President, leaving a legacy that will ripple through this institution for generations. In Minouche, we have found a similarly inspiring individual who will set Columbia on the course of a new transformative era. All of us who are privileged to call ourselves Columbians, who treasure this University and the excellence it represents, wholeheartedly welcome her.
Jonathan Lavine, Chair, on behalf of the Trustees of Columbia University