top of page
About JKS

About Jomo Kwame Sundaram



Awards Honours Recognitions

External Academic Affiliations


Jomo Kwame Sundaram is Visiting Senior Fellow at Khazanah Research Institute, Visiting Fellow at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University, and Adjunct Professor at the International Islamic University in Malaysia.

He was Assistant Director General and Coordinator for Economic and Social Development (ADG-ES), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations from August 2012 until December 2015. He was Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development in the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) from January 2005 until June 2012, and (Honorary) Research Coordinator for the G24 Intergovernmental Group on International Monetary Affairs and Development from December 2006 until September 2012. 

In 2007, he was awarded the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. He has authored and edited over a hundred books and translated ten volumes besides writing many academic papers and articles for the media. 

Jomo held the Tun Hussein Onn Chair in International Studies at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia, during 2016-2017, was Professor in the Applied Economics Department, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya until November 2004, Founder Director (1978-2004) of the Institute of Social Analysis (INSAN) and Founder Chair (2001-2004) of IDEAs, International Development Economics Associates (; he now chairs its Advisory Panel. He was also on the Board of the United Nations Research Institute on Social Development (UNRISD), Geneva. He serves on the editorial boards of several learned journals.

During 2010-2012, he was G20 sherpa to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and also UN G20 Finance Deputy during 2011-2012. During 2008-2009, Jomo served as adviser to Father Miguel d’Escoto, the President of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly, and as a member of the [Stiglitz] Commission of Experts of the President of the United Nations General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System. 


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).


Some of his most cited book publications include Rents, Rent-Seeking and Economic Development: Theory and the Asian Evidence, Tigers in Trouble: Financial Governance, Liberalisation and Crises in East Asia, Globalization Versus Development: Heterodox Perspectives, Southeast Asia's Industrialization, Southeast Asian Paper Tigers? Behind Miracle and Debacle, Manufacturing Competitiveness: How Internationally Competitive National Firms and Industries Developed in East Asia, Ethnic Business? Chinese Capitalism in Southeast Asia, After The Storm: Crisis, Recovery and Sustaining Development in East Asia, The Origins of Development Economics, Pioneers of Development Economics, The New Development Economics, the two volumes of The Long Twentieth Century -- Globalization Under Hegemony: The Changing World Economy and The Great Divergence: Hegemony, Uneven Development and Global Inequality, Policy Matters: Economic And Social Policies To Sustain Equitable Development, Flat World, Big Gaps: Economic Liberalization, Globalization, Poverty and Inequality, Growth Divergences: Explaining Differences in Economic Performance, Towards Full and Decent Employment, Reforming the International Financial System for Development, Poor Poverty: The Impoverishment of Analysis, Measurement and Policies, Is Good Governance Good for Development?, Globalization and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa and Ending Malnutrition: From Commitment to Action.


Some of his more widely read titles on Malaysia include Malaysia’s Political Economy, Malaysian Eclipse: Economic Crisis and Recovery, Ugly Malaysians? South-South Investments Abused, Deforesting Malaysia: The Political Economy of Agricultural Expansion and Commercial Logging, M Way: Mahathir’s Economic Policy Legacy, Bail-Outs? Capital Controls, Restructuring & Recovery in Malaysia,Malaysian Industrial Policy and Malaysia@50: Development, Distribution, Disparities.


He is married to Felice Noelle Mallillin Rodriguez and has three children, Nadia (born 1987), Emil (born 1989) and Leal (born 1990).

Return to Top of Page



Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (PhD, 1978), 1974-1977.

Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government (MPA), 1973-1974.

Yale University (BA cum laude), 1970-1973.

Royal Military College (School Certificate, Malaysian Certificate of Education [O levels], 1968; Higher School Certificate [A levels], 1969), 1967-1970.

Penang Free School (Lower Certificate of Education), 1964-1966.

Westlands Primary School (MSSEE), 1959-1963.

Return to Top of Page




  • Senior Adviser, Khazanah Research Institute, 2019-2020.

  • Senior Fellow, Khazanah Research Institute, 2016-2018.

  • Tun Hussein Onn Chair in International Studies, Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia, 2016-2017.

  • Assistant Director-General, Coordinator for Economic and Social Development, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, August 2012-December 2015.

  • Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Secretariat, New York, January 2005-June 2012.

  • University of Malaya, July 1982-November 2004 (Associate Professor, Analytical Economics, July 1982-October 1986; Professor, Development Studies, Institute of Advanced Studies, November 1986-October 1989; Head, Development Studies, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Malaya, 1987-2004; Professor, Applied Economics, January 1991-November 2004). 

  • National University of Malaysia (UKM), February 1977-June 1982 (Lecturer, February 1977-December 1980; Associate Professor, January 1981- June 1982).

  • Temporary Lecturer, School of Comparative Social Sciences, Science University of Malaysia (USM), May-August 1974.

  • Research Assistant, Economic Growth Center, Yale University, 1971.


Concurrent employment:

  • Visiting Senior Research Fellow, National University of Singapore, July 2004-January 2005. 

  • Fulbright Visiting Professor, Cornell University (Southeast Asia Program and Johnson School of Management), Fall 1993.


Part-time employment:

  • Research Coordinator pro bono, G-24 (Intergovernmental Group on International Monetary Affairs and Development), December 2006-September 2012.

  • Visiting Instructor, Yale College, Fall 1977.

  • Teaching Fellow, Social Studies Program, Harvard College, Spring, Fall 1975.

  • Teaching Fellow, Economics Department, Harvard University, Fall 1974, Spring 1975.

  • Instructor, Kennedy Institute of Politics, Harvard University, Fall 1974, Spring 1975.

  • Research Assistant in Chile, Economic Growth Center, Yale University, 1973.

Return to Top of Page


Awards Honours Recognitions​

are listed here

External Academic Affiliations

Advisory Board, European Journal of East Asian Studies, 2020-

Editorial Board, Agrarian South: The Journal of Political Economy, 2012-

Editorial Board, Review of Keynesian Economics, 2012-

Editorial Board, Feminist Economics, 2007-

Editorial Advisory Board, Southeast Asian Studies Book Series, University of Wisconsin Press & UW Center for Southeast Asian Studies, 2004.

International Adjunct Faculty, Master of Arts in International Development Studies, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, 2004.

Editorial Board, International Journal of Asian Studies (Cambridge University Press for Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo), 2003-2008.

International Advisory Committee, Taiwan Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 2003-2004.

International Selection Committee, Asian Public Intellectuals (API) Fellowship Program, 2003-2004.

Advisory Board, Asia-Pacific Development Journal (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok), 2002-

Advisory Board, Institute for Policy Dialogue (IPD), Columbia University, 2002-2004.

Advisory Board, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 2002-2004 (independent), 2005-2012 (ex officio).

Advisory Board, Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, 2002-2004.

Advisory Committee on Economics and Policy, Times Academic Publishing, 2002-2004.

Editorial Advisory Board, The American Asian Review, 2002-2004.

Editorial Board, Asian Business and Management, 2002-2004.

International Advisory Panel, Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University, 2002-2004.

Advisory Panel, Human Development Report, 2003 (United Nations Development Program), 2002-2003.

Founder Chair, International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs), 2001-2004.

Editorial Board, Journal of East Asian Studies, 2000-2004.

Editorial Board, African Journal of Business & Economic Research, 1999-2004.

Editorial Board, African Journal of Development Studies, 1999-2004.

Editorial Board, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, 1999-

Convenor, Second International Malaysian Studies Conference, 1999.

Convenor, First International Malaysian Studies Conference, 1997.

Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Regional Advisory Panel on Southeast Asia, 1997-2000.

President, Malaysian Social Science Association, 1996-2000.

Visiting Fellow, Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1995-1997.

Visiting Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, 1995-1997.

Evaluation Committee, Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo, 1995-1996.

Visiting Fellow, Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo, 1995. 

External Assessor, Faculty of Human Ecology, Universiti Pertanian Malaysia, Serdang, 1994-2004.

International Advisory Board, South East Asia Research (School of Oriental and African Studies, London), 1994-2003.

Steering Committee, South-South Exchange Programme for Research on the History of Development (SEPHIS), 1994-2003.

Editorial Board, Links (Sydney), 1994-2000.

Editorial Board, Journal of Asia-Pacific Economy, 1994-2009.

Invited Life Member, Society for International Development, 1993-.

Council of the Journal, Alternatives Sud (Tricontinental Centre, Brussels), 1993-2004.

Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Joint Committee on Southeast Asia, 1993-1996.

Guest Editor, Kajian Ekonomi Malaysia (Malaysian Economic Studies), 1990 [two issues], Malaysian Economic Association.

Executive Committee, International Peace Research Association, 1983-1988.

Founding Editor, Ilmu Masyarakat (Social Science), Malaysian Social Science Association, 1983-1987.

Editorial Board, Jurnal Ekonomi Malaysia (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia), 1982-2004.

Pro-Tem Secretary, Asian Social Science Association, 1980-1984.

Founder Director, Institute for Social Analysis (INSAN), 1978-2004.

Return to Top of Page

bottom of page