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Marquette Wire

Deputy Secretary of IMF, Sabina Bhatia, returns to MU

Photo by Isabel Bonebrake
March 2 Deputy Secretary of the international monetary fund Sabina Bhatia visited Marquette to talk to students.

Deputy Secretary of the international monetary fund Sabina Bhatia made the trip from the office in Washington D.C. for a talk about global economic fragmentation with Marquette students last Thursday.

Bhatia is a Marquette alumna and was invited back by the international affairs department. The talk consisted of two parts, the first being more of a lecture-style talk from Bhatia and the second being a discussion between Bhatia, political science professor Richard Friman and economics professor Grace Wang.

International Affairs program director Brian Palmer-Rubin said the idea behind the topic of the talk comes from recent political history.

“Her presentation was motivated by the idea that the present period, the last 15 years or so since the global financial crisis, has been characterized by this increasing fragmentation and distancing of countries from one another,” Palmer-Rubin said. “Less interest in trade agreements, less interest in transnational financial institutions, less interest in collaboration even on human rights and democracy promoting treaties.”

Bhatia said that it was her goal to promote cooperation among countries.

“One of the things we’ve learned from the second world war and prior is that it’s important for countries to work together. That’s why institutions like the IMF, world bank and the UN were created,” Bhatia said. “We don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past. One message I would like to leave is that it’s really important for countries to cooperate with one another. Especially as we’re living in a very fragmented world.”

Jack Hammerton, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said it was important for him to be able to see a Marquette graduate in an industry he wants to be in.

“I’ve known about Ms. Bhatia for a couple of years now, knowing that she was a Marquette alum in the field that I wanted to go into,” Hammerton said. “So hearing that she was finally coming here and then getting the chance to meet her, to hear her speak here, her ideas being presented as well as hearing from some of my favorite professors. It was a fantastic event overall.”

Bhatia said the event allowed her to learn from students just like they learn from her.

“It’s an opportunity for me also to listen to what’s top of mind for students and youth,” Bhatia said. “And if they all have questions for me as coming from an international institution, I can share some of my knowledge and experience.”

In addition to educating students, Bhatia said one of her goals for the talk was to gain a different perspective on important issues.

“At the same time, the public has an interest in what we do. Civil society, labor unions, think tanks and youth, the next generation. As a public institution, we need to listen to various stakeholders not just our shareholders, and we need to learn from them,” Bhatia said. “They have very legitimate questions and interest in us, so it’s a useful dialogue.”

Hammerton said he was inspired by the talk and the opportunity to interact with Bhatia.

“It’s a really cool experience because you don’t get to normally meet people who are at that level of fame or have influence,” Hammerton said. “To have her come back and speak to students, it allows his connections to be made. It shows what we’re all capable of, it’s very inspiring.”

The event wasn’t only beneficial for students, Wang said the combination of her economics perspective with Friman’s political background led to her learning a lot.

“When Dr. Friman was talking about different political science theories over time to conceptualize the fragmentation. I’ve never thought about this, I’m not familiar with a lot of those theories,” Wang said. “To me, it’s very eye opening. I learned a lot. At the end, I actually told Dr. Friman I learned a lot and he said the same.”

Palmer-Rubin hopes that events like these continue to arise from the International Affairs office.

“We’re excited about the community in the international affairs program,” Palmer-Rubin said. “We’re excited to continue to grow to be a resource for all things international at Marquette.”

This story was written by John Gunville. He can be reached at j[email protected] or on Twitter @GunvilleJohn.

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About the Contributor
John Gunville, Sports Reporter
John is a Sports Reporter at the Wire. He is a senior from Hartland, WI studying international affairs and Spanish and minoring in economics. In his free time, John enjoys playing on the Birdhouse ultimate frisbee team and has been to over 200 Marquette men's basketball games. This year John is looking forward to growing as a writer and share his passion for Marquette sports.

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