Dr. Graciana del Castillo is senior fellow at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies; a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a member of several advisory boards; and a co-founding partner of the Macroeconomics Advisory Group, an international consultancy firm that advises governments, international organizations, and the private sector.
With a Ph.D. in Economics from Columbia University, she was Senior Research Scholar and Associate Director of the Center on Capitalism and Society at Columbia where she conducted research and organized conferences on issues at the top of the global economic and foreign policy agenda. She was also Adjunct/Visiting Professor there for almost two decades. She has lectured widely in the US, Latin America and Iran.
Dr. del Castillo was the senior economist in the Office of the UN Secretary General and later joined the IMF. She was also a Director of Sovereign Ratings at Standard & Poor’s a board member of the Centennial Group Latin America, a senior consultant
to the Inter-American Development Bank, a visiting scholar at the OECD Development Center, and an economic advisor to the Mission of Uruguay at the UN. More recently she has been a consultant at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the UNU/Wider (the economics think tank of the UN).
Dr. del Castillo’s area of expertise is macro- and international economics and she has broad experience working with and analyzing countries, particularly in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. She has applied her rigorous economic thinking and practical experience, together with her knowledge of current events in donor countries and the financial markets, to devise policies for the reactivation of dynamic and inclusive growth and the promotion of trade and investment flows—both in emerging markets and in countries affected by conflict, natural disasters, or financial collapse.
Dr. del Castillo designed the arms-for-land program for El Salvador, which was credited for bringing the peace process back on track. She played a key role in the design of policies for jumpstarting the Kosovo economy after the war. For a better utilization of aid in crisis-affected countries, she has devised the concept of Reconstruction Zones, and has made specific conflict-sensitive policy recommendations for countries such as Haiti, Afghanistan, and Liberia. Under different umbrellas, she has advised Tamil Tiger and Syrian opposition groups on planning for post-conflict economic reconstruction policies for their respective countries.
She returned from recent trips to Afghanistan, Liberia, and Nigeria convinced that incentive policies toward foreign investors for the exploitation of natural resources, although necessary, require a clear quid pro quo to ensure that the investment creates links to the domestic economy and the benefits are shared. So far, they operate mostly as conflict-creating enclaves, often displacing indigenous communities and threatening their livelihoods. This is particularly true in conflict-affected countries but also increasingly so in other areas.
Dr. del Castillo is the author of Rebuilding War-Torn States: The Challenges of Post-Conflict Economic Reconstruction (Oxford University Press, 2008). Her academic articles have been published in top economic and political journals and her press articles, letters to the editor, and opinion pieces have appeared in over seventy newspapers worldwide. Throughout her career, she has enjoyed mentoring students and staff, particularly women.