Project Associate in the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) Sara E. Sievers '90 has been appointed the first executive director of the newly formed Harvard Center for International Development (HCID).
As executive director, Sievers will help oversee HCID's interdisciplinary research efforts aimed at understanding how to promote growth in developing countries.
HCID, a joint venture between the HIID and the Kennedy School of Government (KSG), was formed earlier this summer in order to give increased emphasis to international development research and teaching, said Jeffrey D. Sachs, who is director of HCID and HIID.
"Sara was a very strong choice...because she brought both tremendous skill and energy to work in developing countries," Sachs said.
A former State Department vice consul at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Sievers recently completed a study on African development that won praise from the international community, Sachs said. Called the African Competitiveness Report, the study surveyed business leaders and government officials on prospects for growth in 24 African countries.
"It has been very useful and a widely used and cited document for use in Africa," Sachs said.
Sievers said there is much more research that needs to be done in Africa and around the world. "In the last couple of years we've seen African economies turn from negative per capita growth to positive per capita growth rates," Sievers said. "We want to know what we can do to solidify and accelerate that process."
As far as teaching, Sievers will help implement a new program to allow KSG students getting a Master's in Public Administration the option of specializing in international development. "With a third of KSG students now coming from overseas, we are delighted to have Sievers at the helm of this important initiative," said Dean of the KSG Joseph S. Nye.
Sievers said her desire to research international development stems from its intellectual allure as an interdisciplinary subject.
"I think [development research asks] a fascinating set of questions," she said. "I'm now a member of a team of people that are pulling together some of the brightest minds at Harvard."
Sachs said HCID will bring together scholars from the Economics Department to the Government Department to the School of Public Health.
Also, Sievers--who grew up in the Marshall Islands--said she likes her work because it may help lead to gains in standards of living for people across the world.
"The motivation is [also] much more caring about people that live in developing countries whose opportunities are more limited than mine," she said.
A College graduate, Sievers said she is glad to have a position that means she will be at Harvard for some time.
"I'm very grateful and thankful to have the opportunity to pursue the things I find stimulating in rewarding and absorbing in a place that feels like home," she said.
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