Center for Global Development Measures Butterfly Effect


Everything we do affects others around the world, and the Center for Global Development researches and analyzes how the actions and policies of rich and powerful decision-makers in the Western world affect poor people in developing countries. Some of the things they focus on include aid effectiveness, education, globalization, health, climate change, migration and trade. This research allows them to connect and engage with thought leaders and policymakers to make their ideas a reality.

"Where We Came From
Since its founding in 2001, CGD has earned a reputation as a “think and do” tank, where independent research is channeled into practical policy proposals that help to shape decisions in Washington, other rich-country capitals, and the international financial institutions.

We have put on the global agenda—and sometimes helped to drive to implementation—proposals to accelerate vaccine development; to permit migration as a tool in disaster recovery; to write down $36 billion in Nigerian debt; to make the World Bank more effective, accountable, and legitimate; and to create a new international institution for independent evaluation of poverty-reduction efforts.

CGD was founded in November 2001 by Edward Scott Jr., C. Fred Bergsten, and Nancy Birdsall. A technology entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former senior US government official, Ed Scott provided the vision and a significant financial commitment that made the creation of the Center possible. Fred Bergsten, the director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, lent his formidable reputation in academic and policy circles and provided the fledgling Center with a roof and logistical support within the Peterson Institute for the Center’s initial months of operation. Nancy Birdsall, a former head of the World Bank research department and executive vice president of the Inter-American Development Bank, became CGD’s first president. Her intellectual leadership and rare combination of being both hard-headed and soft-hearted about development attracted a cadre of researchers and other professionals who are deeply dedicated to CGD’s mission.

CGD’s three founders perceived a growing need for independent research to generate practical, creative solutions to the challenges that global interdependence poses to the developing countries, starting with debt. Delivering on Debt Relief: From IMF Gold to a New Aid Architecture (CGD, 2004), by Birdsall and John Williamson, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute, was the Center’s first book."


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