Dr. Reuben Abraham is founding CEO and Senior Fellow at IDFC Institute, an independent, non-partisan think/do tank funded by India’s largest infrastructure finance bank. IDFC Institute’s focus is on the political, economic, and spatial causes and consequences of, and obstacles to, India’s ongoing transformation from a low income, state led economy to a market based democracy, a journey many emerging markets share.
He is a non-resident scholar at the Marron Institute at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Before IDFC, he was on the Faculty and Executive Director of the Centre for Emerging Markets Solutions (CEMS) at the Indian School of Business (ISB), where he continues to serve on the Next Generation Leaders Board of the school.
Dr Abraham’s expertise lies in understanding the underlying processes of economic development, with a focus on institutions, and the intersection of public policy and politics. Besides, he has spent the last decade working on issues related to urbanisation, perhaps the single biggest macro-trend across most major emerging markets outside Latin America.
Dr. Abraham is a Milken Institute Senior Fellow and a Legatum Institute Fellow for 2016-2017 (and earlier in 2013); in 2012, he was named to Wired Magazine’s “Smart List 2012: 50 people who will change the world.” He was selected as a Young Global Leader for 2009 by the World Economic Forum, where he serves on Global Futures Council on The Future of Cities and Urbanisation. Previously, he was vice-chair of the Global Agenda Council on Emerging Multinationals.
He is a member of the international advisory board of Unicredit Bank of Italy; the board of the Centre for Civil Society, India’s leading classical liberal think tank; the board of Advocata, a Sri Lankan think tank; and THNK, The Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership. He is also on the board of First Home Realty Solutions, an affordable housing development firm; and Endiya Partners, an early stage venture fund in India.
For a decade, he was at the forefront of the impact investing movement and served as an independent director at the Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF), an early impact investment pioneer that makes catalytic investments across emerging markets. Under the aegis of SEDF, he helped set up SONG, a unique India-focused early stage SME venture fund with Google and Omidyar Network as co-investors. A TED Global Fellow in 2007, he then served on the TED Fellows Advisory Board.
He completed his M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D. from Columbia University, focused on the impact of communications technology on economic development. During his time at Columbia, he was an Associate Fellow in Global Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Fellow of the Public Policy Consortium and a Sloan Foundation/CITI Telecommunications Fellow.
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