Thanks to her “unshakable confidence,” Columbia University names its first female president

Leading economist and current President of the London School of Economics and Political Science Minouche Shafik will take office July 1st.

“Like all of us in the Columbia community, she believes that in order to bring about meaningful change, we have a collective obligation to combine our distinctive intellectual capabilities with groups and organizations beyond the academy,” wrote Jonathan Lavine, chair of the Columbia Board of Trustees in a letter to the community.

These kind words speak to the character and professional integrity of Nemat “Minouche” Shafik who is set to become Columbia University’s 20th president. She will also be the woman in the institution’s history to lead the university.

“What set Minouche apart as a candidate is her unshakable confidence in the vital role institutions of higher education can and must play in solving the world’s complex problems,” wrote Lavine.

Shafik will be succeeding President Lee C. Bollinger who announced he would be stepping down in August 2022. According to Bollinger, he couldn’t be more confident about who will take over reigns once he’s gone.

“I feel like if I had looked all over the world for the best person to next lead Columbia, I would have chosen Minouche Shafik,” he said in a statement. “Her expertise, her experiences—both personal and professional—and her general outlook on academic and public life make her an inspired appointment. I offer her my warmest congratulations and very best wishes as she takes on what I believe to be the best job in the world.”

Until 2017, Shafik led the London School of Economics and Political Science overseeing improvements to the student experience, the recruitment of academic leaders, and expanding infrastructure projects. Shafik is a major proponent of inclusion and diversity, which she details in several articles and books, including What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract, where she highlights the need for an improved social contract to support our economic system and to challenge individuals and institutions to reevaluate how we can better support one another.

Learn more about Columbia’s 20th president:

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Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a University Business staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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