A New Era at CGD with Dr. Rachel Glennerster

May 13, 2024

As Chair of the Board of the Center for Global Development, I am delighted to announce that Dr. Rachel Glennerster has been appointed as the next President of CGD. Rachel's appointment follows a thorough process, reflecting our unwavering dedication to impactful global development.

Rachel will succeed Masood Ahmed, who over the last seven years has elevated CGD’s footprint and impact in key areas of global development policy, establishing the Center as a platform for candid and insightful dialogues on cutting-edge ideas in the realms of development economics and finance—and who I feel extremely lucky to have had the chance to work closely with.

Rachel comes to us with a distinguished background in international development; well-known for her groundbreaking work in academia and public service on both sides of the Atlantic. Her wealth of knowledge, innovative mindset, managerial acumen, and proven ability to secure funding will undoubtedly move CGD forward. Currently serving as an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, Rachel has leveraged randomized trials to address critical issues spanning democracy, health, education, and women's empowerment, and pioneered ways to shape markets to promote innovation to address global challenges including pandemics and climate change. Her tenure as Chief Economist at the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and its predecessor the Department for International Development, alongside her executive leadership at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), underscores her commitment to evidence-based policymaking and poverty reduction.

Rachel played a pivotal role in establishing initiatives including the $1.2 billion Advance Market Commitment for a pneumococcal vaccine and the interdisciplinary Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel that provides advice to governments about the most effective education strategies. Her publications in top academic journals, and books including “Strong Medicine: Creating Incentives for Pharmaceutical Research on Neglected Diseases” and “Running Randomized Evaluations: A Practical Guide,” attest to her intellectual prowess and practical insights.

Recognized for her contributions, Rachel was appointed Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG) in 2021 for her outstanding services to international development. She is currently chairing Teaching at the Right Level Africa (TaRL Africa), and remains dedicated to advancing evidence-backed educational strategies.

CGD has had two remarkable leaders in Nancy Birdsall and Masood Ahmed—and I am confident Rachel will continue this tradition, building on their legacy in a time at a time when addressing global development challenges is more pressing than ever.


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.