MAS has the honor to select Jomo Kwame Sundaram, better known as Jomo KS, as its latest featured economist. A Malaysian national, his contribution to economic knowledge and service to improving the collective bargaining position of developing countries in the international economic order has gained worldwide reputation, especially through his service in the United Nations system.
Jomo was Professor in the Applied Economics, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya until November 2004, Founder Director (1978-2004) of the Institute of Social Analysis (INSAN) and Founder Chair (2001-2004) of IDEAs, International Development Economics Associates (www.ideaswebsite.org) where he now serves on the Advisory Panel. He was also on the Board of the United Nations Research Institute on Social Development (UNRISD), Geneva (2002-4). During 2008-2009, he served as adviser to the President of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly, and as a member of the [Stiglitz] Commission of Experts of the President of the United Nations General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System. In his capacity as the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Social Affairs (DESA) from 2005 until 2012, he built international consensus towards ensuring economic and social policies for balanced, sustainable and inclusive economic development. Thereafter, he became the Assistant Director-General and Coordinator for Economic and Social Development at the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) where he continued to advocate for sustainable development until his retirement in 2015. He has since returned to live and work in Malaysia.
Jomo has written extensively and widely on topics spanning across Southeast Asian economic development, industrial policy, institutional economics, economic liberalization, international trade, development theory to the relationship between economic growth and inequality. He has authored over 35 monographs, edited over 50 books and translated 12 volumes besides from numerous academic essays. While he undoubtedly regarded as one of the most significant Southeast Asian economists, his expertise, and the lessons he has to offer, go beyond the region.
During his 2009 Inaugural Yusif Sayigh Development Lecture held by MAS, when the global economy was still reeling from the shocks of the financial crisis, Jomo offered an astute analysis of the causes of the crisis, its effects on developing countries and outlined ways to overcome it. Jomo was in a prime position to do so after having been one of a handful of economists who warned of an impending global economic collapse.
In 2007, his wide contribution to the theory, policy and practice of economic development was recognized by awarding him the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.
A link to some of Jomo’s articles published in the media can be consulted here