Conversations in the Political Economy of Developing Regions

Conversations in the Political Economy of Developing Regions

Panelists will discuss the national and regional economies of China, Africa and the Arab Gulf, trace the development of international financial structures and explore their impacts on the Global South today.

Monday, February 12, 2024
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM (Pacific Time)
Rolfe Hall, Rm 2125

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How is our current financial system constructed? Who or what is responsible for economic inequality on a global scale? Is there a future beyond U.S. dollar supremacy? Join us for a panel discussion to explore these questions and more on past, present and futures of global finance, development and monetary policy. Panelists will consider national and regional economies of China, Africa and the Arab Gulf to trace the development of international financial structures and explore its impacts on the Global South today, offering possibilities for more equitable futures of investment, trade and finance. Dr. Alden Young, Associate Professor of African American Studies at UCLA will discuss the history of trade cooperation and economic unevenness that shaped the relationship between Africa, the Arab Gulf and the OECD in 1970s. He will be joined by Dr. Devika Dutt from King’s College London who will discuss potentials for an international monetary system that decenters dollar hegemony. From the College of William and Mary, Dr. Nara Sritharan will explain her research on the role of Chinese development financing and its relationship to national governance and public opinion. The event will be moderated by UCLA’s Dr. Mekonnen Gebremichael, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.


 Alden Young is associate professor of African American studies, a faculty member of the International Development Studies program of the UCLA International Institute, and a faculty affiliate at the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies. A political and economic historian of Africa, he is the author of “Transforming Sudan: Decolonization, Economic Development and State Formation” (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Young is particularly interested in the ways in which Africans participated in the creation of the current international order and has research interests on both sides of the Red Sea. He has done extensive fieldwork in Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

 Devika Dutt is a Lecturer in Development Economics at King's College London. She holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a specialization in International Finance, Macroeconomics, Political Economy, and Development. Her research is focused on the political economy of foreign exchange intervention, central bank swap agreements, the political economy of development policy (especially as it relates to international financial institutions), and macroeconomic policy in developing economies. She also serves as a Consultant to the Council in the Economics of Health for All of the World Health Organization, and is a co-Founder of Diversifying and Decolonising Economics (D-Econ).

 Nara Sritharan is a Postdoctoral Fellow at AidData, a research lab at the College of William & Mary, where she conducts quantitative analysis of a number of development topics. Her primary research interests are foreign aid, geospatial analysis, China's impact in the Global South, and conflict. Prior to joining AidData, Nara completed her PhD in Economics at UMass Amherst. Her dissertation was on the political economy of peace and conflict, in particular peacebuilding and ethnic reconciliation in conflict/post-conflict countries. Nara is a Steering Committee member and Co-Founder of Diversifying and Decolonising Economics (D-Econ), and maintains affiliations with Security in Context and Human Security Lab.


 Mekonnen Gebremichael is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. Professor Gebremichael's research interests include understanding and prediction of hydrological fluxes on a range of spatial and temporal scales, advancing the use of satellite observations for water resource applications, uncertainty analysis of hydrological estimations and forecasts, transboundary river basin management, water resource management and governance in developing countries, and impact of hydrological and climate changes on vector-borne diseases.


Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies