Professor to head UN council

Will Ashenmacher

He applied for the position in January 2003 and was flown to Geneva six months later to be interviewed by a board of UNECE members. He was offered the position on Aug. 14.

Chowdhury said he will report to Geneva later this month and will return to

Marquette after a two-year stint with UNECE. Such an extended leave of absence is not common, according to University Provost Madeline Wake, but she said was happy to grant it to him.

“I thought that this (experience) would enrich Dr. Chowdhury’s teaching when he returns to the university,” Wake said. “To have an appointment of this type is very exciting. It means that our professors have an impact on international affairs. Our professors are out there making a difference.”

Chowdhury will head a commission of approximately 210 people — mostly economists, but also lawyers, engineers and statisticians. Chowdhury and his commission will examine the economic policies and practices of 55 nations in North America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. His duties will vary by country, Chowdhury said.

In regards to the North American nations, Chowdhury said he “will be monitoring their economies” and observing their economic policies in action, noting what works at what does not. In Eastern Europe and the Balkans, where most of the economies are still developing, Chowdhury will be more directly involved.

After careful observation, Chowdhury said his commission will propose changes in and ways to improve these countries’ economic policies. Chowdhury said this opportunity to work with UNECE countries and help them solve their economic problems is part of what attracted him to the position.

“I’m very interested in policy-making and formulating opportunities for other countries,” he said.

Chowdhury said he anticipates that his work with UNECE will be difficult, but he relishes the challenge.

“It will be challenging, but I am looking forward to it,” he said.

Chowdhury came to Marquette as an associate professor in 1989 and was named a full professor in 2002. He has taught such classes as Intermediate Macroeconomics and Money and Banking.

UNECE, organized in 1947, is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. According to its mission statement, UNECE is an organization focused on “economic policy analysis, development of conventions, regulations and standards and technical assistance (for member nations).”