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“After the Fall: A World Transformed?” On the Current International Economic Crisis
February 10, 2009, Volume 55, No. 21

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann and a panel of Penn faculty will explore the causes of the economic and financial crisis, as well as its short- and long-term impacts on the world, at the inaugural David and Lyn Silfen University Forum. After the Fall: A World Transformed?, the forum will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on February 17 at the Zellerbach Theater in Penn’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

“The current economic and financial crisis, the most severe since the Great Depression,” Gutmann said, “will not be wasted at Penn. Integrating knowledge across disciplines is an essential mission of higher education in the 21st century, and this crisis represents an extraordinary opportunity for Penn to bring together outstanding faculty from economics, politics, law, and finance to share their insights with our entire community regarding the causes and likely consequences of a defining moment in our nation’s history. I am extremely grateful to our Trustee David Silfen and his wife, Lyn, for their generosity in making this and future forums possible.”

At the forum, Penn faculty with expertise in economics, finance, law and political science will discuss the causes of the crisis, its national and global impact and strategies for intervention. Panelists will also explore the possibility of fundamental and permanent changes to the global economy. 

“The forum will provide an opportunity for some of the best minds at Penn to address this issue and investigate, evaluate and propose solutions to the unprecedented challenges we now face,” David Silfen said. “Lyn and I are pleased to be able to support Penn and what promises to be an engaging and enlightening forum.”

Ticket information: www.upenn.edu/silfenforum.

 A live webcast will be available at www.upenn.edu/president/silfenforum/webcast.html.

 The Forum participants, who represent a broad spectrum of expertise relevant to the world economic situation, will be five faculty members from the University of Pennsylvania:

Jennifer Amyx, assistant professor of political science. Her work focuses on the political economy of East Asia, with a particular emphasis on the politics of financial regulation and reform in Japan and on regional financial cooperation initiatives in East Asia since the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis. Her book, Japan’s Financial Crisis: Institutional Rigidity and Reluctant Change, was awarded the 2005 Masayoshi Ohita Memorial Prize. As an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2005-06, she worked in Tokyo on projects commissioned by Japan’s Ministry of Finance and by the ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers. She also worked in Washington, DC, in the East Asia Division at the Department of the Treasury. She has also held visiting-scholar positions at institutions in Japan, Australia and the US.

Harold Cole, professor of economics, has also served as professor of economics at UCLA; senior economist and director of the Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis; consultant to the World Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia; and visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund. A scholar of macroeconomics and international finance, he has researched the Great Depression, incomplete markets and risk sharing, sovereign default and the interaction of social institutions and economic decisions.

Donald F. Kettl, a political scientist and the Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor, is a nonresident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution. Among his books are The Next Government of the United States: Why Our Institutions Fail Us and How to Fix Them, System Under Stress: Homeland Security and American Politics and The Global Public Management Revolution. He has twice won the Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration for the best book published in public administration. In 2008, he won the American Political Science’s John Gaus Award for a lifetime of exemplary scholarship in political science and public administration.  He has consulted broadly for government organizations at all levels in the United States and abroad, and he is a regular columnist for Governing magazine.

Richard Marston, the James R. F. Guy Professor of Finance and Economics at the Wharton School, he is director of the George Weiss Center for International Financial Research at Wharton, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a member of several journal editorial boards. He has been a visiting professor or scholar at more than a dozen schools abroad, including Essec in France, LBS in London and the Sasin Institute in Thailand. His research interests have recently centered on exchange rate pass-through and exposure, foreign exchange risk management and international asset pricing.

David Skeel, the S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law at the Law School, he is the author of Icarus in the Boardroom and Debt’s Dominion: A History of Bankruptcy Law in America. He has twice received the Harvey Levin award for outstanding teaching, as selected by a vote of the graduating class, as well as the University’s Lindback Award for distinguished teaching. In addition to corporate law and bankruptcy, he also writes on sovereign debt, law and religion and poetry and the law.

David Silfen, C’66, senior director of The Goldman Sachs Group, has been a Penn trustee since 1998 and is completing his term as chair of the Trustee Development Committee. He serves on the Trustee Executive Committee, Budget and Finance Committee, Nominating Committee and Investment Committee. He is also an overseer of SAS. He and his wife, Lyn, are the parents of Penn alums Jane, C’07, and Adam, C’98, WG’03. Longtime supporters of undergraduate education, they previously funded two Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professorships, the Silfen Student Study Center, a term professorship and the David and Lyn Silfen Fund in SAS, to support the Pilot Curriculum.


Almanac - February 10, 2009, Volume 55, No. 21