Information about Asia and the Pacific Asia y el Pacífico

Opening Remarks

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
August 2006
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Information about Asia and the Pacific Asia y el Pacífico
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Andrew Crockett

Delegates, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure, on behalf of the Per Jacobsson Foundation, to welcome you to this Per Jacobsson Foundation Lecture. Over the past 40 years or so, this lecture has become a fixture of the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and we have been privileged to have a very distinguished range of speakers. Per Jacobsson, as many of you know, was the third Managing Director of the IMF and, prior to that, the Chief Economist of the BIS. He was a very distinguished member of a long line of distinguished Managing Directors.

Also, on behalf of the Foundation, I would like to express our appreciation for the generous support for this event provided by the Association of Banks in Singapore, and I am delighted that the Chairman of the ABS, Mr. Wee Ee Cheong is with us today, sitting here in the front row, along with a number of other representatives of the Association.

It is a particular pleasure for me to introduce Tharman Shanmugaratnam, universally and more simply known as Tharman, who has been a friend and colleague of mine for a number of years. Many of you will know him: he is extremely well known in Singapore. Much of his career was spent with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, but he has given very distinguished service also in education and finance. I think one could say, looking at his career—starting with his academic qualifications at Cambridge University, the London School of Economics, and Harvard, where he was cited as a Littauer Fellow—that he has focused on these areas. And he is now, as most of you will know, involved both in education, through his role as Minister for Education, and in finance as Second Minister for Finance. I think you call that “double-heading” in Singapore.

Tharman entered politics five years or so ago and has subsequently been reelected, and, as a political representative, he has been and is a minister in the government.

I think you will agree with me that his distinguished background, academically and in public life, fit him extremely well to give the Per Jacobsson Foundation Lecture as the latest in a line of distinguished speakers, and to address us this afternoon on the subject of “Asian Monetary Integration: Will It Ever Happen?”


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