The Haiti Seminar - Money, Finance and Sovereignty
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The Economic Legacy of the French Mandate in Lebanon

With Joelle M. Abi-Rached (Harvard University), Ishac Diwan (Paris School of Economics), Jean-François Brière (SUNY-Albany), Ugo Panizza (Geneva Graduate Institute) and Sam Segura Cobos (Tecnológico de Monterrey in Guadalajara)
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Zoom Online Seminar. Registration required.

The Seminar seeks to foster discussions that encompass both case studies and comparative approaches, and enable to put in historical perspective questions of debt sustainability, debt forgiveness, conditionality and political control. The seminar will take place from 6pm to 7:30pm (Geneva), 12pm-1:30pm (New York)  6

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29 Feb. 2024: Joelle M. Abi-Rached (Harvard University) and Ishac Diwan (Paris School of Economics) 

"The Economic Legacy of the French Mandate in Lebanon"

Discussants: Jean-François Brière (SUNY-Albany) and Ugo Panizza (Geneva Graduate Institute)

Chair: Sam Segura Cobos (Tecnológico de Monterrey in Guadalajara)


Joelle M. Abi-Rached is Lecturer in History of Science at Harvard University as well as an Associate Researcher at Sciences Po (Médialab).  Her research focuses on the politics of life, health, and wealth with a particular interest in the politics of health as it plays out in poor and developing countries as well as in the Middle East. Since October 2019, when an unprecedented economic and political crisis erupted in Lebanon and more specifically since the tragic Beirut explosion on August 4, 2020 and the humanitarian crisis that ensued, she has been involved in several civil society initiatives. More recently, since the Covid-19 pandemic crisis erupted, she has engaged in writing and activism with the implications of the crisis on individuals and societies.

Ishac Diwan is the Director of Research for the Finance for Development Lab, a new institute located at the Paris School of Economics where he also teaches economics. Until recently he held the Chair Socio-Economy of the Arab World at Paris Sciences et Lettres | PSL (a consortium of Parisian universities). Diwan was the World Bank’s Country Director for Ethiopia and Sudan (2002-2007), and then for Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, and Guinea (2007-2011). He is a frequent consultant with governments and international organizations, working recently on policy issues in Sudan, Yemen, Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt. He directs the Political Economy program of the Economic Research Forum, where he runs two projects on the study of crony capitalism, and the analysis of opinion surveys. His current research interests focus on the political economy of the Middle East, in addition to broader development issues.

Jean-François Brière is the Department Chair of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at SUNY-Albany)

Ugo Panizza is Professor of International Economics at the Geneva Graduate Institute, Pictet Chair in Finance and Development, Deputy Director of the Institute’s Centre for Finance and Development, and former Chief of the Debt and Finance Analysis Unit at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. He is also the Director of the International Centre for Monetary and Banking Studies (ICMB), Vice President and Fellow of CEPR, Fellow of the Fondazione Einaudi, and Editor-in-Chief of International Development Policy. Previously, he worked at the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank, alongside holding teaching and research posts at the American University of Beirut and the University of Turin. Professor Panizza’s research interests include international finance, sovereign debt, banking, and political economy. He has extensive work and research experience in Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa.

Sam Segura Cobos (Tecnológico de Monterrey in Guadalajara) is a Research Consultant at Esade International in London. He has a PhD in International History from the Geneva Graduate Institute with a specialisation in international political economy and economic, financial and legal history. From 2019 to 2020, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Centre for Ethics and the Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University. He has also served as a consultant in London and Singapore for multinational companies and governments on issues such as institutional change, sustainability, well-being and trade law. As a historian and social scientist, he is interested in the institutional diversity that facilitates exchange relations across societies. His research highlights the role that expectations, beliefs, worldviews, norms, rules, and organisations play in institutional complexes that enable the growing separation in time and space of exchange transactions.




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The Haiti Seminar


The Seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach, aiming to bring together scholars from diverse academic backgrounds. In particular, it will invite historians, economists and legal scholars to debate their perspectives and engage in fruitful exchanges. It seeks in particular to foster discussions that encompass both case studies and comparative approaches and enable to put in historical perspective questions of debt sustainability, debt forgiveness, conditionality, political control, etc.

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The Haiti Seminar is led by Marc Flandreau at the University of Pennsylvania in partnership with the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and the School of Social Sciences and Government of the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico.

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research grants


The Seminar is conceived to operate over a three-year period, commencing in 2023-24. The project will distribute a series of research grants. In particular, 10 Doctoral Prizes of 5,000 USD each will be awarded to registered PhD students located anywhere in the world and working on the history and economics of sovereign debt, a funding initiative supported by Crédit Mutuel, Paris.

The Seminar takes place online on Thursdays at 12pm (Haiti Time)/ 6 pm (Paris Time).

It will be concluded by an academic conference in the Summer of 2026.

Inquiries:  haiti.seminar@sas.upenn.edu


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