Cover Story

Gita Saar

……….Daughter of India imparting wisdom to the world

People of the Great Indian Diaspora have time and again proved themselves to be the best, bringing in winds of change for this world to be a better place for all of us to live. These Leaders have created a footprint in the international market as some of the world’s most powerful change makers.

Gita Gopinath is one such name. She is one of the most influential individual globally.  Indian-American Gita Gopinath, former Chief Economist at International Monetary Fund (IMF) has succeeded Geoffrey Okamoto to become IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director. She is the first woman to head the said position. She was also IMF’s first female chief economist.

Gita Gopinath was born on 8th of December, 1971 in Kolkata, India into a Malayali family. She is the younger of two daughters of T.V. Gopinath and V.C. Vijayalakshmi. Her family is related to the late A. K. Gopalan. She studied at Nirmala Convent School in Mysore.

She received a B.A. degree from Lady Shri Ram College for Women of the University of Delhi in 1992 and an M.A. degree in economics from Delhi School of Economics, also of the University of Delhi, in 1994. She further completed an M.A. degree at the University of Washington in 1996. She earned her Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University in 2001 after completing a doctoral dissertation titled “Three essays on international capital flows: a search theoretic approach,” under the supervision of Ben Bernanke, Kenneth Rogoff and Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas.

She was awarded the Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Research Award while doing her doctoral research at Princeton.

Gopinath is a naturalized American Citizen and an Overseas Citizen of India. She is married to Iqbal Singh Dhaliwal, her classmate from the Delhi School of Economics. Her Husband Iqbal Dhaliwal, IAS Topper Now Heading MIT’s J-PAL (Poverty Action Lab). Iqbal Dhaliwal is a UPSC topper and a gold medal-winning IAS officer who left his job and moved to the US.

“I am grateful to God that Gita has the best life partner,” said Vijayalakshmi, Gita’s mother. “My son-in-law has ensured that Gita gets back from work to a loving family each day. It is not easy for a woman to succeed without the support of her husband.”

It was during Gita’s time at Delhi School of Economics that she met her future husband Iqbal Singh Dhaliwal. They would travel together to college everyday by the same bus and subsequently went to Princeton, where they both pursued their Master’s degree.

Iqbal was born in Bengaluru in 1972 to a father who was in the Border Security Force and a mother who ran a school. He has one sister, who is a doctor. He studied at Mothers International School in Delhi and was also head boy of the 1989 batch. He spent 14 years of his student life at the same school. He went on to do his BA in economics from the University of Delhi, followed by an MA in economics from the Delhi School of Economics, and an MPA in International Development from Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.

Prior to attempting the civil service examination, Iqbal worked as a teacher at Sant Memorial Public School in Gurgaon from May 1994 to July 1996.

In June 1994, Iqbal gave his first UPSC CSE attempt and secured an All India Rank (AIR) of 229 and was allocated the Indian Civil Accounts Service Group A. However, since he wanted to better his rank, he attempted the examination again in 1996 and secured an AIR of 1, and was allocated the Indian Administrative Service branch in the Tamil Nadu Cadre.

  • He served as an IAS officer for five years before he quit and moved to the US.
  • He is also the recipient of the Director’s Gold Medal at the National Academy of Administration (Now called Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA).
  • In 2019, the Government of Punjab awarded him the Guru Nanak Devji Achievers Award for his contributions to the field of economics and poverty alleviation.
  • He received the Dean’s Fellowship at Princeton University and a gold medal for standing first in the college in his undergraduate program.
  • Iqbal is currently the Global Executive Director, MIT’s Poverty Action Lab based in Massachusetts.

A sneak into Gita Gopinath’s Career

  • In 1992, Gopinath got her B.A degree in economics from University of Delhi.
  • In 1994 Gita Gopinath got her first master’s degree at the Delhi School of Economics. In 1996, she got her second master’s degree in economics at University of Washington.
  • In 2001, Gita Gopinath got her Ph.D. in economics in the field of international macroeconomics and trade at Princeton University.
  • At Princeton’s economics department, her Ph.D. advisors included two future Chief Economists of the IMF – Professor Ken Rogoff (2001-03) and Professor Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas (2022-25) and a future Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve – Professor Ben Bernanke (2006-14).
  • In 2001, she joined the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business as an assistant professor.
  • In 2005 she moved to Harvard University’s economics department where she was the Professor of International Studies and Economics through 2022.
  • In October 2018, Gopinath was appointed chief economist of the International Monetary Fund.

As part of her many significant initiatives, she co-authored the “Pandemic Paper” on how to end the COVID-19 pandemic that set globally endorsed targets for vaccinating the world. This work led to the creation of the Multilateral Task Force made up of the leadership of the IMF, World Bank, WTO, and WHO to help end the pandemic and the establishment of a working group with vaccine manufacturers to identify trade barriers, supply bottlenecks, and accelerate delivery of vaccines to low- and lower-middle income countries. Gopinath also worked with other IMF departments to connect with policy makers, academics, and other stakeholders on a new analytical approach to help countries respond to international capital flows via the Integrated Policy Framework. She also helped set up a Climate Change team inside the IMF to analyze, among other things, optimal climate mitigation policies. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva noted that “Gita’s contribution to the Fund and our membership has been truly remarkable —quite simply, her impact on the IMF’s work has been tremendous. She made history as the first female Chief Economist of the Fund and we benefitted immensely from her sharp intellect and deep knowledge of international finance and macroeconomics as we navigate through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”

In December 2021, Gopinath was elevated as the Fund’s new First Deputy Managing Director (FDMD), the number two position at the Fund. Gopinath had been earlier scheduled to return to her academic position at Harvard University in January 2022 on completion of her term as Chief Economist. Georgieva added that “given that the pandemic has led to an increase in the scale and scope of the macroeconomic challenges facing our member countries, Gita—universally recognized as one of the world’s leading macroeconomists—has precisely the expertise that we need for the FDMD role at this point. Indeed, her particular skill set—combined with her years of experience at the Fund as Chief Economist—make her uniquely well qualified. She is the right person at the right time.”

As the First Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, Gopinath represents the Fund at multilateral forums, maintains high-level contacts with member governments and Board members, the media, and other institutions, leads the Fund’s work on surveillance and related policies, oversees research and flagship publications and the work of senior staff.

Gopinath was earlier the co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, a member of the economic advisory panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Economic Adviser to the Chief Minister of Kerala state (India), a co-editor at the American Economic Review, and a co-editor of the 2019 edition of the Handbook of International Economics.

In June 2021, Gopinath was appointed to the World Bank–International Monetary Fund High-Level Advisory Group (HLAG) on Sustainable and Inclusive Recovery and Growth, co-chaired by Mari Pangestu, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, and Nicholas Stern.


  • In 2021, Financial Times named Gopinath among the ‘25 most influential women of the year’
  • The International Economic Association named her the Schumpeter-Haberler Distinguished Fellow,
  • The Agricultural & Applied Economics Association recognized her with the John Kenneth Galbraith Award,
  • The Carnegie Corporation named her among ‘Great (American) Immigrants’
  • She was named among the Bloomberg ‘50 people who defined 2019’ and among the ‘Women who Broke Major Barriers to Become Firsts’ by Time Magazine.
  • In 2018, Gopinath was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society.
  • Foreign Policy named her one of the Top Global Thinkers in 2019.
  • In 2017, she received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Washington.
  • She was named one of the top 25 economists under 45 by the International Monetary Fund in 2014
  • She was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011.
  • In 2019, she was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the President of India.

The spirit of an Indian to excel, has led to the current trend of numerous Indian origin individuals emerging as business and global leaders worldwide. The Indian Diaspora global community is extremely proud of them.

Melwyn Williams

Melwyn is a renowned film actor, producer, writer and director in the Indian film Industry. He is a writer as well as a journalist. He has contributed immensely to the world of art, literature and cinema. He is the founder of LADAKH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, LIFF. He has been active in the film industry for more than two decades. Melwyn believes that AESTHETICS is the next big thing to be incorporated in all spheres of life and technology. Website

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