Honoring Elaine Wolfensohn’s Life and Legacy

August 27, 2020

As the current and former leaders of the Center for Global Development, we express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the late Elaine Wolfensohn. Elaine and Jim Wolfensohn have been friends and supporters of CGD since its inception. Masood had the privilege of Elaine’s counsel, encouragement, and advice working with Jim during his presidency of the World Bank. Then and since Nancy’s time at the Inter-American Development Bank, she benefited from Elaine’s constant support for women’s issues at all the major international institutions.

Elaine has been a force for development, with experience at the World Bank, the Albright Institute, and the Wolfensohn Development Center at Brookings. Elaine was ahead of her time in insisting on attention to gender and to child development, health, and education during and after her husband’s presidency at the World Bank.

In October 2019, CGD had the honor of hosting a tribute event for Elaine and Jim for their contributions to equitable development for all. As Jim said at the tribute event, and as we saw so vividly in practice every time we engaged with the Wolfensohns, Elaine was his key partner in tackling the challenges of development.

We, along with our CGD Board chair Larry Summers, are grateful for Elaine’s service to the development sector and for her unyielding commitment to making it work better for women and children.

Masood Ahmed, President

Nancy Birdsall, President Emeritus

Center for Global Development

Washington, D.C.


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