Professor Sachs served as the Director of the Earth Institute from 2002 to 2016. He was appointed University Professor at Columbia University in 2016, and also serves as Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on the Sustainable Development Goals, and previously advised both UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Sustainable Development Goals and Millennium Development Goals and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria. Sachs is currently Director of both the Center for Sustainable Development, and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network under the auspices of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Sachs is co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, and is director of the Millennium Villages Project. Sachs is also one of the Secretary-General’s SDG Advocates, and a Commissioner of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Development. He has authored six books, including three New York Times bestsellers (*), in the past decade years: The End of Poverty (2005*), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008*), The Price of Civilization (2011*), To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace (2013) and The Age of Sustainable Development (2015) and the latest book, Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair & Sustainable (February 2017).
Professor Sachs is widely considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on economic development, global macroeconomics, and the fight against poverty. His work on ending poverty, overcoming macroeconomic instability, promoting economic growth, fighting hunger and disease, and promoting sustainable environmental practices, has taken him to more than 125 countries with more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more than thirty years he has advised dozens of heads of state and governments on economic strategy, in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. He was among the outside advisors to Pope John Paul II on the encyclical Centesimus Annus and in recent years has worked closely with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on the issues of sustainable development.
Sachs is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Blue Planet Prize, membership in the United States Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Society of Fellows, and the Fellows of the World Econometric Society. His conversation with Tyler Cowen won the Quartz Podcast Award for best business/economics podcast of 2015. He has received more than 20 honorary degrees, and many awards and honors around the world. Professor Sachs is also a frequent contributor to major publications such as the Financial Times of London, the International Herald Tribune, Scientific American, and Time magazine.
Prior to joining Columbia, Sachs spent over twenty years as a professor at Harvard University, most recently as the Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Sachs received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard.