The Visiting Professorship, which is associated with the Social Sciences Division and Green Templeton College at Oxford University, was launched on 3 June 2011. It is currently held by Professor Kenneth Rogoff. Previous holders include Avinash Dixit, Abhijit Banerjee, Paul Krugman, Dani Rodrik, and Robert Wade.
The Sanjaya Lall Visiting Professor is resident in Oxford during Trinity Term and hosted by a department in the Social Sciences Division (previous holders have been based in the Department of Economics, the Saïd Business School, and the Blavatnik School of Government). The Visiting Professor is expected to deliver at least one public lecture and to participate in seminars, workshops, and conferences. In addition, the Visiting Professor usually participates in a high-profile panel debate on a topical issue organised by the Sanjaya Lall Memorial Fund. Beyond these duties, Visiting Professors often mentor and collaborate with graduate students, contribute to ongoing projects by Oxford faculty, and conduct their own research. Through these activities, they have made a significant contribution to intellectual life in Oxford, stimulating, enriching, and bringing fresh ways of thinking to the academic community as well as strengthening ties between Oxford and other world-class universities across the globe.
The inaugural event was a panel discussion involving Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, Financial Times commentator Martin Wolf, and the first holder of the new Chair, Professor Robert Wade of the London School of Economics. The event was opened by the Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Chris Patten. Other speakers included Professor Colin Mayer, then Dean of Saïd Business School, and Professor Frances Stewart of Queen Elizabeth House.
The panellists began by evoking the memory of Sanjaya both as a friend and a pioneering development economist. Drawing on Sanjaya’s intellectual legacy, they debated how emerging economies will shape the future of the global economy and the challenges they are likely to face. Professor Sen highlighted the considerable pressures Western democracies face from powerful banking institutions, and the lessons to be learned from emerging markets with more robust regulatory systems. Mr Wolf illustrated the rapid convergence of a small number of developing countries, led by China, with advanced economies. Professor Wade discussed the problems of global economic governance, arguing for radical reform of bodies such as the IMF and the G-20. The event attracted over 800 people, the largest ever turnout in the history of the Said Business School.
A large number of distinguished academics from Oxford and beyond, as well as representatives from UNIDO, the World Bank, the IMF and other international organisations, attended the event.