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Kemal Derviş

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Kemal Derviş

Kemal Derviş
Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme
In office
15 August 2005 – 28 February 2009
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Preceded by Mark Malloch Brown
Succeeded by Helen Clark
Minister of Economic Affairs
In office
3 March 2001 – 10 August 2002
Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit
Preceded by Recep Önal
Succeeded by Masum Türker
Personal details
Born (1949-01-10) 10 January 1949
Istanbul, Turkey
Political party Republican People's Party
Spouse(s) Catherine Derviş
Alma mater London School of Economics
Princeton University

Kemal Derviş (Turkish pronunciation: ; born 10 January 1949) is a Turkish economist and politician, and former head of the United Nations Development Programme. He was honored by the government of Japan for having "contributed to mainstreaming Japan's development assistance policy through the United Nations."[1] In 2005, he was ranked 67th in the Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll conducted by Prospect and Foreign Policy magazines.[2][3] He is currently Vice President and Director of the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution.[4]

Early life

Derviş was born on 10 January 1949 in Istanbul, Turkey to a Turkish father and a Dutch-German mother.


As Minister of State for Economic Affairs in Turkey when Bülent Ecevit was Prime Minister, Derviş was the architect of Turkey's successful three-year economic recovery program launched in 2001. Before being named to head the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),[5] he was a member of the Turkish parliament, and a member of the joint commission of the Turkish and European Parliaments. He previously was a member of the Convention on the Future of Europe.

A member of the Advisory Group at the Center for Global Development,[6] member the Task Force on Global Public Goods and the Special Commission on the Balkans and associated with the Economics and Foreign Policy Forum in Istanbul, Derviş was instrumental in strengthening Turkey’s prospects of starting membership negotiations with the European Union.

Strobe Talbott announced that Derviş joined the Brookings Institution on 30 March 2009 as vice president and director of the Global Economy and Development program.[7]

He is a member of the scientific committee of the Fundacion IDEAS, Spanish Socialist Workers' Party's think tank.

Derviş is currently married to his second wife, Catherine Derviş, an American citizen. He is also the author of "Recovery from the Crisis and Contemporary Social Democracy", which was published in 2006.

Studies and World Bank Career

Kemal Derviş completed his early education in Institut Le Rosey. He later earned his bachelor (1968) and master's degrees (1970) in economics from the London School of Economics and his PhD from Princeton University, U.S. (1973). From 1973 to 1976, he was member of the economics faculty of the METU in Ankara, Turkey, and served also as an advisor to Bülent Ecevit during and after his Prime Ministerial duties. From 1976 to 1978, he was member of the faculty, Department of Economics at the Princeton University.

In 1977, he joined the World Bank, where he worked until he returned to Turkey in 2001. At the World Bank, he held various positions, including Division Chief for Industrial and Trade Strategy and Director for the Central Europe Department after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1996, he became Vice-President of the World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa Region, and in 2000, Vice-President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management. In the first position, Kemal Derviş coordinated the World Bank’s support to the peace and reconstruction process in the Balkans (Bosnia) and the Middle East. In the second position, he was responsible for the World Bank’s global programmes and policies to fight poverty and the development of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) initiative that had just been launched. He was also responsible for the operational coordination with other institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and United Nations institutions, on international institutional and policy issues.

Ministry of Economic Affairs

When Derviş became Turkey’s minister of economic affairs in March 2001, after a 22-year career at the World Bank, the country was facing its worst economic crisis in modern history and prospects for success were uncertain. Derviş used his independence from domestic vested interests and support of domestic reformers and civil society to push through a tough stabilization program with far-reaching structural changes and sweeping bank reforms that protected state banks from political use. Derviş also strengthened the independence of the central bank and pushed through deep structural reforms in agriculture, energy and the budget process. These reforms, and his reputation and top-level contacts in the U.S. and Europe, helped him to mobilize $20 billion in new loans from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Rapid economic growth resumed in 2002 and inflation came down from an average of nearly 70 percent in the 1990s to 12 percent in 2003; interest rates fell and the exchange rate for the Turkish lira stabilized.

Derviş resigned from his ministerial position on 10 August 2002 and was elected to parliament on 3 November of that year as a member of the main opposition Republican People's Party.

United Nations Development Program

On 5 May 2005, the United Nations General Assembly, representing 191 countries, unanimously confirmed Kemal Derviş as the Administrator of the United Nations Development Program, which is also the chairperson of the United Nations Development Group. Derviş started his four-year term on 15 August 2005. The UNDG Administrator is the third-highest-ranking official in the United Nations, after the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General.

In 2009, he decided not to seek a second term as Administrator of UNDG.[8]


Selected works

  • Inequality in America: Facts, Trends and International Perspectives. 2012. 
  • A Better Globalization: Legitimacy, Governance and Reform. 2008. 
  • Recovery from the Crisis and Contemporary Social Democracy. 2006. 
  • . (with John M. Page, Jr.). "Industrial Policy in Developing Countries".  


  1. ^ a b Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "2009 Autumn Conferment of Decorations on Foreign Nationals," p. 1.
  2. ^ The top 100 intellectuals
  3. ^ The Prospect/FP Top 100 Public Intellectuals
  4. ^
  5. ^ Kemal Derviş to head the UN Development Programme. BBC.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Kemal Derviş Named Vice President and Director of Global Economy and Development at Brookings. Brookings Institution.
  8. ^ Dervis thanks staff, outlines development challenges ahead. UNDP.
  9. ^ Ministry of FA, Dervis Civil Merit


External links

  • Derviş's expert page at the Brookings Institution
  • Biography of Kemal Derviş, Administrator of UNDP
  • BBC profile of Kemal Derviş
Political offices
Preceded by
Recep Önal
Minister of Economic Affairs
Succeeded by
Masum Türker
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Mark Malloch Brown
Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme
Succeeded by
Helen Clark
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