About CGD

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We work to change the policies and practices of rich countries and powerful institutions to reduce global poverty and inequality. We are a policy crucible, where world class scholars use independent, rigorous research to develop new knowledge and practical solutions. Through creative communications and outreach we engage with policymakers, practitioners, thought leaders, media and engaged citizens to turn ideas into action. Learn about how we got started below.

Our Experts

CGD’s resident research fellows are world class experts in their fields, combining academic rigor and practical experience across a huge range of areas that affect development. 

Where we came from

CGD was founded in November 2001 by Edward Scott Jr.C. Fred Bergsten, and Nancy Birdsall. A technology entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former senior US government official, Ed Scott provided the vision and a significant financial commitment that made the creation of the Center possible. Fred Bergsten, the director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, lent his formidable reputation in academic and policy circles and provided the fledgling Center with a roof and logistical support within the Peterson Institute for the Center’s initial months of operation. Nancy Birdsall, a former head of the World Bank research department and executive vice president of the Inter-American Development Bank, became CGD’s first president. Her intellectual leadership and rare combination of being both hard-headed and soft-hearted about development attracted a cadre of researchers and other professionals who are deeply dedicated to CGD’s mission.

CGD’s three founders perceived a growing need for independent research to generate practical, creative solutions to the challenges that global interdependence poses to the developing countries, starting with debt. Delivering on Debt Relief: From IMF Gold to a New Aid Architecture (CGD, 2004), by Birdsall and John Williamson, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute, was the Center’s first book.

CGD moved to its current location in 2014. Previously we lived on Massachusetts Avenue, Washington’s ‘think tank row’. In 2011 we established CGD Europe, based in London, to help bring CGD’s unique blend of evidence-led, practical research to policy, development, research and finance communities in Europe.