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Ian Goldin    

Visionary Economist; Former Director of Oxford University's 21st Century School; Former Vice President of The World Bank; Former Economic Advisor to President Nelson Mandela

Professor Ian Goldin was the founding Director of the Oxford Martin School from September 2006 to September 2016. He is currently Oxford University Professor of Globalisation and Development, Senior Fellow at the Oxford Martin School, Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technological and Economic Change and a Professorial Fellow at the University’s Balliol College.

During his decade as Director the School established 45 programmes of research, bringing together more than 500 academics from across Oxford, from over 100 disciplines, and becoming the world’s leading centre for interdisciplinary research into critical global challenges.

Professor Goldin initiated and was Vice-Chair of the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations, which brought together international leaders from government, business, academia, media and civil society to address the growing short-term preoccupations of modern politics and business, and identify ways of overcoming today’s gridlock in key international negotiations. The Commission's report, Now for the Long Term, was published in October 2013.

From 2003 to 2006 he was Vice President of the World Bank, and prior to that the Bank’s Director of Development Policy (2001-2003). He served on the Bank’s senior management team and led the Bank’s collaboration with the United Nations and other partners as well as with key countries. As Director of Development Policy, he played a pivotal role in the research and strategy agenda of the Bank.

From 1996 to 2001 he was Chief Executive and Managing Director of the Development Bank of Southern Africa and served as an advisor to President Nelson Mandela. He succeeded in transforming the Bank to become the leading agent of development in the 14 countries of Southern Africa. During this period, Goldin served on several Government committees and Boards, and was Finance Director for South Africa’s Olympic Bid.

Previously, Goldin was Principal Economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London, and Program Director at the OECD Development Centre in Paris, where he directed the Programs on Trade, Environment and Sustainable Development.

He has a BA (Hons) and a BSc from the University of Cape Town, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and an MA and Doctorate from the University of Oxford.

Goldin has received wide recognition for his contributions to development and research, including having been knighted by the French Government and nominated Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum. He has published over 50 articles and 20 books - more information can be found at iangoldin.org

Speech Topics


Ian Goldin is also renowned for addressing the following areas:

  • Economic Development
  • Natural Resources, Water, Agriculture and the Environment
  • Finance and Banking for Development
  • Global Governance

Humanity at the Crossroads

Goldin shows how this could be our best century ever. Or our worst, in which we may even destroy our centuries of progress. Professor Goldin identifies the major opportunities and progress which may be expected in coming years. He then draws out the ethical and social implications raised by the major shifts and advances in society and technology. He considers the public policy issues associated with the threats posed, including by climate change, pandemics and terrorism and identifies the measures necessary to ensure that society ensures that this is a century of shared opportunity, not destruction.

Skills, Education and Immigration

Throughout history, migrants have fueled the engine of human progress. Their movement has sparked innovation, spread ideas, relieved poverty, and laid the foundations for a global economy. Looking to the future, Professor Ian Goldin examines the development of labor markets and the implications for skills, education and immigration which is the subject of his recent book Exceptional People, published by Princeton.

Risk Management

Ian Goldin is a world leading expert on the new forms of systemic risk which he identifies as arising from turbo charged globalisation associated with sharply increased levels of connectivity and technical change. Drawing on his book The Butterfly Defect: Globalization and Systemic Risk, Goldin shows how we need to rethink our understanding of risk and develop new strategies of resilience to prevent cascading shocks overwhelming our businesses and society

Demography and Finance

Rapid increases in life expectancy and collapsing fertility is changing the nature of society and finance, and has dramatic consequences for economic activity, consumption and savings. A leading figure on the most pressing challenges confronting the world as we move well into the 21st Century, Professor Goldin examines the how population and demography will affect retirement, pensions, health care and other areas that will be drastically effected changes around the globe.

The World In 2020

Ian Goldin has a unique insight into the future. Drawing on the frontiers of research at Oxford and elsewhere, he provides illuminating perspectives on the major changes in society and technology which are likely to take place over coming decades. His presentations focus on the big picture, looking at the implications for businesses, governments and individual choice.

Professor Goldin explains the connection between social and technical change, and draws out the lessons of the past thirty years of unprecedented globalisation. He discusses whether the tidal wave of globalisation will continue and whether past trends are sustainable.

He examines first population and demographic trends, considering the implications for pensions, retirement, dependency and migration patterns to the Year 2050. Next, he considers economic trends, considering whether the current dramatic instability in the market is likely to be a short-term deviation from longer term trends. He considers the rise of Asia and emerging markets, providing perspectives on economic growth and opportunities over the coming 10+ years. The connections between social, technical and economic change and market growth and consumer behaviour are unpacked. Professor Goldin provides fresh insights into the future of computing, biotechnology, nano-technology, genetics and the likely implications of frontier technologies.

Ian Goldin is a leading global thinker on the future. He has extraordinary wide ranging knowledge and an ability to combine the latest in research with insights from the inside of global politics and business.

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