On Thursday, February 15, 2018, Rethinking Development welcomed Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who served two terms as Nigeria’s Finance minister and a short period as its Foreign Minister. She also spent more than two decades at the World Bank, eventually rising to the Number 2 position of managing director. She is currently the Chair of the board of the Global Vaccine Alliance and Immunization program (GAVI). Over the past four years she has been ranked by Fortune as one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders, by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World, and by Time Magazine as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2014.
Duke President Vincent Price welcomed Dr. Okonjo-Iweala when she arrived on campus accompanied by Indermit Gill (former Director, DCID), Eve Duffy (Assistant Vice Provost for Global Affairs), and Giovanni Zanalda (Director, DUCIGS). During the meeting, they exchanged ideas about health, education, and governance issues in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as the global role of research universities. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala made a compelling case for Duke engagement abroad, especially in Africa.
After a meeting with faculty from the Sanford School of Public Policy, the Duke Africa Initiative, and Duke Global Health Institute, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala joined an energetic group of students for a special lunchtime discussion. Two Master of International Development (MIDP) fellows from Nigeria, Ada Umenwaliri and Bimpe Femi-Oyewo, helped lead the meeting with undergraduate and graduate students — most from African countries. She particularly enjoyed this meeting since throughout her career she has focused on ensuring that young people are engaged and able to reap the benefits of economic growth.