Students, alumni, faculty, and friends of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics gathered at AXA Auditorium on October 13 to inaugurate the fifth edition of the School's master programs. The President of Catalonia, Mr. Artur Mas, presided over the event, which featured a lecture by Chief Economic Advisor to the Indian Ministry of Finance, Prof. Kaushik Basu.
Joining President Mas and Prof. Basu at the plenary table were the CEO of AXA-Spain, Mr. Javier de Agustín; the rector of Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Prof. Josep Joan Moreso; the rector of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Prof. Anna Ripoll; and Barcelona GSE Chairman, Prof. Ramon Marimon. The Catalan Minister of Economy and Knowledge, Prof. Andreu Mas-Colell, and other authorities and Board members also attended the event.
"The Emergence of the Indian Economy: Short-term Challenges and Future Prospects"
In his lecture, Prof. Basu spoke about his experience from two different perspectives: that of an academic researcher at Cornell University in the United States, and that of a policymaker inside with Indian government, in his role as Chief Economic Advisor to the Finance Ministry. This dual view has helped him to see that economists have been leaving out important social factors when creating macroeconomic models.
"The Economics profession has not stressed this enough," Prof. Basu said. "In terms of economic development, yes, you have to get your fiscal policy right, you have to get your monetary policy right, but it also depends on social norms, culture and institutions very, very importantly."
Artur Mas, President of Catalonia: "The Barcelona Graduate School of Economics is an example of success"
President Mas inaugurated the academic year with some remarks on the importance of excellence in research and education to the future of Europe and specifically Catalonia, noting that the Barcelona GSE is an example of that standard of excellence. "In spite of its short life...the GSE has succeeded in offering world-class graduate programs which are a great opportunity for successful academic and non-academic professional careers," President Mas said.
He also added that the GSE is an example of success, remarking that, despite its relatively recent creation in 2006, the School has just received the Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence distinction, which includes a grant of four million euros to promote frontier research.
Strong start to the Barcelona GSE's fifth year
The GSE is off to an auspicious start in 2011-12 both in its educational offer and its research activities. The Class of 2012 continues the trend of growth begun by the four classes before it, both in numbers and internationality, with 229 students (40% more students than last year) from 56 countries (the Class of 2011 came from 51 countries).
In his remarks at the opening ceremony, Barcelona GSE Chairman Prof. Ramon Marimon (EUI, UPF and GSE) recognized that the School now faces the challenge of maintaining the high standards it has set for itself during its first five years. "Just like the players in the Barça football club, when you win you also have to keep the standards. It's a challenge to keep these standards, even more so [in times of] turbulence."
Prof. Marimon also reflected on the long-run view of the GSE's development as an institution and its significance for its students as the quality and internationality of the faculty, student, and alumni communities continue to grow. The only bad news for students: "One year goes very fast, so really take advantage of it," he said.
About Prof. Kaushik Basu
Kaushik Basu (PhD, London School of Economics, 1976) is Chief Economic Advisor to the Indian Ministry of Finance and Professor of Economics (on leave) at Cornell University. He is President of the Human Development and Capabilities Association (founded by Amartya Sen) and has held advisory posts with the ILO, the World Bank, the Reserve Bank of India.
About President Artur Mas
Artur Mas i Gavarró is the 129th President of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia), elected in 2010. From 1995 to 2003 he had been Minister and Prime Minister of the Catalan Government. He is an economist who obtained his degree from the University of Barcelona. Prior to his political activities he held different posts in both the private and public sectors, especially relating to the internationalization of Catalan enterprise.