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Economist Named First Global Human Development Chair Funded by Coca-Cola

April 2, 2014 – Georgetown announced today that leading economist and scholar Steven Radelet has been chosen as the inaugural global human development chair holder, supported by a $4 million gift from the Coca-Cola Foundation to the School of Foreign Service’s (SFS).

Georgetown announced the $4 million gift from the Coca-Cola Foundation to the SFS' master's in Global Human Development (GHD) program on March 19.

As the inaugural faculty chair, Radelet will catalyze curriculum development, foster new partnerships and reach out to promising candidates from across the globe to be a part of the graduate program.

“I’m really deeply honored to be here and to be the first holder of this chair,” said Radelet, a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Development in SFS. “It means a great deal to me personally, and I think the support from the Coca-Cola Foundation … says a lot about the work that has been done and the strides that have been made by Georgetown in support of the global human development program.”

Extensive Experience 

He also thanked donors Amre Youness (SFS’84), Caroline Heinz-Youness (SFS’84) and Donald McHenry, a Distinguished Professor of Practice in SFS, for their support of the GHD program.

The chair eventually will be named in honor of McHenry, a former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, for his decades of service to global diplomacy. The chair will be named after McHenry retires, though he has no immediate plans to do so.

Prior to joining Georgetown, Radelet served as chief economist at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). He also has served as senior advisor for development under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and as senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, where his work focused on economic growth, poverty reduction, foreign aid, debt and trade.

Global Action

“Nearly a fifth of the world’s population – over 1 billion people – live in extreme poverty,” said SFS Dean Carol Lancaster. “This master’s program in Global Human Development is designed to equip students to be leaders with the tools to address the most pressing development challenges of our time.”     

In addition to the Coca-Cola Foundation’s support, The Coca-Cola Company provides student internships. Students in the global human development graduate program spend their summers working on development projects around the world. This past summer, two students worked with The Coca-Cola Company’s overseas operations in Turkey and South Africa.

In all, GHD students worked in more than 15 countries in the summer of 2013, including helping the Indonesian Ministry of Health implement its health reform, working with the Liberian Refugee, Repatriation and Resettlement Commission in Monrovia, and helping an organization working with Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Turkey.

“Coca-Cola is absolutely committed to enhancing the sustainability of the communities we serve,” said Lisa Borders, chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation. “This grant not only supports Georgetown University’s efforts to create skilled human development practitioners, but addresses our global efforts to support programs enabling communities to replenish water, reducing poverty through women’s empowerment initiatives and enhancing the overall well-being of people and communities.”

Critical Building Blocks

Support for faculty is one of the main priorities of Georgetown’s $1.5 billion For Generations to Come Campaign. The Global Human Development program is one of the strategic initiatives identified as a priority investment for the university through the campaign.

“Endowed chairs are critical building blocks for a great research university,” says Provost Robert Groves. “They carry special distinction for their holders and provide the resources required to recruit world-class scholars to the university.”

The Coca-Cola Foundation is the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company.

Since its inception in 1984, the Foundation has awarded more than $660 million in grants to support sustainable community initiatives around the world. The Foundation along with The Coca-Cola Company has invested more than $5 million in Georgetown University since 1982. This includes student scholarships, the Father Edmund A. Walsh Fund, the Georgetown University Leadership Seminar, the Landegger Program in International Business Diplomacy and the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.