April 24, 2014: Distinguished Alumni Award Reception

The Department of Economics honored Santiago Levy as the recipient of the Department’s first Distinguished Alumni Award at the special reception on April 24, 2014. This award recognizes outstanding achievements in any area by graduates of one of the Department’s degree programs.

Santiago Levy was a natural choice for our first award both because of his accomplishments and his extensive and long-standing ties to the department. As one of the fathers of Conditional Cash Transfers or CCT, Santiago played a crucially important role in the development of one of the leading antipoverty programs in the world. He first introduced and oversaw the implementation of PROGRESA (later renamed Oportunidades) when he was Deputy Finance Minister of Mexico. Since then, CCT programs have spread to dozens of countries around the world, including Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Jamaica, Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt, Bangladesh, Morocco, Peru, and Cambodia. Santiago is also a multiple graduate of our department, having received a BA (1976), MA (1978), and PhD (1980) from us. He was a faculty member in the Department from 1983 to 1993, serving as the first director of our Institute for Economic Development (1989-1990). He is currently a vice president at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC, and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.