Jomo Kwame Sundaram, known as Jomo, is a prominent Malaysian economist, who has served as the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) since 2005. He was founder chair of International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs), and sat on the Board of the United Nations Research Institute For Social Development (UNRISD), Geneva. In 2007, he was awarded the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. During 2008-2009, he served as adviser to Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly, and as a member of the Stiglit] Commission of Experts of the President of the United Nations General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System.
Jomo is a leading scholar and expert on the political economy of development, especially in Southeast Asia, who has authored or edited over a hundred books and translated 12 volumes besides writing many academic papers and articles for the media. He is on the editorial boards of several learned journals.
Born in Penang, Malaysia, in 1952, Jomo studied at the Penang Free School (PFS, 1964-1966), Royal Military College (RMC, 1967-1970), Yale (1970-1973) and Harvard (1973-1977). He has taught at Science University of Malaysia (USM, 1974), Harvard (1974-1975), Yale (1977), National University of Malaysia (UKM, 1977-1982), University of Malaya (1982-2004) and Cornell (1993). He has also been a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University (1987-1988; 1991-1992) and a Senior Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (2004).
Before joining the UN, Jomo was already widely recognized as an outspoken intellectual, with unorthodox non-partisan views. Before the Asian financial crisis in 1997-98, Jomo was an early advocate of appropriate new capital account management measures, which then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad later introduced. When then Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was imprisoned without trial under the Internal Security Act, Jomo publicly condemned the repression. In late 1998, he was sued for defamation for 250 million ringgit by Vincent Tan, a Mahathir era billionaire, who later dropped the case after almost a decade.
During the 13th CODESRIA General Assembly, Prof. Jomo Kwame Sundaram will give the Cheikh Anta Diop public lecture.