Following the launch of the campaign for the University and Colleges of Cambridge, the University of Cambridge and Queens' College have announced a $25 million gift from Jamie Walters and Mohamed A. El-Erian to support the work of Queens’ College and the University’s Faculty of Economics.

Philanthropy is critical if we are to fulfil our mission of contributing to society.

The Vice-Chancellor

Having gained an entrance scholarship, Dr Mohamed A. El-Erian was an undergraduate student of economics at Queens’ between 1977 and 1980, receiving a first class honours degree, and is now an Honorary Fellow there. A leading figure in the economic and financial world, he is the chair of President Obama's Global Development Council, chief economic advisor at Allianz, and is the former CEO and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO).  

The gift represents the culmination of a momentous collaboration between a Cambridge College and academic faculty. 

In addition to funding studentships, research and a professorship, Jamie and Mohamed’s donation will help create The El-Erian Institute for Human Behaviour and Economic Policy. This unique partnership between them, Queens’ College and the Faculty of Economics has been under careful formulation for over a year.

The work of the Institute on economic policy issues will draw on Cambridge’s expertise in neuroscience and psychology as well as economics, finance and behavioural science. It will work closely with academics, practitioners and researchers so that economic policy is better informed by how people actually make decisions and respond – rather than by how theorists think they should.

The need for this type of work has never been greater. Prolonged global economic malaise, financial crises, growing inequalities and disappointing policy outcomes have demonstrated the importance of a better understanding of how decision making interacts with human behaviour, particularly in the presence of uncertainty, inter-connectiveness and insecurities. Driven by a multi-disciplinary approach, the work of the Institute offers the potential for improvements in our collective wellbeing and quality of life.

The donation will also provide for a Fellowship at Queens’ for the Chair of the El-Erian Institute, as well as linked PhD studentships at the College and an outreach fund.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, said: “I am delighted that Jamie and Mohamed have demonstrated such a strong commitment to the University of Cambridge.

“Philanthropy is critical if we are to fulfil our mission of contributing to society. The world’s problems are complex and urgent. This gift will help us support the students and create the understanding we need to build a resilient economy in the globalised era.”

Jamie and Mohamed said: “We are delighted to continue and expand our support of Cambridge, Queens’ and, more generally, the education and health sectors. Education has been a critical driver of our careers, and we are delighted that we can contribute to expanding access to high-quality learning and research, as well as its reach and impact.

Lord Eatwell, President of Queens’ College, said: “Mohamed El-Erian has shown unparalleled commitment to Queens', his College, and has stimulated the establishment of new college-university relationships- a new way forward for the collegiate university.”

Dr El-Erian is co-Chair of the campaign for the University and Colleges of Cambridge which will focus on enhancing the University’s beneficial impact on the world. Cambridge will be working with philanthropists to address major global problems, as it has done for the last 800 years. The £2 billion campaign was launched last weekend and the total amount raised so far now stands at £538 million.

Pictured l - r: Professor Sanjeev Goyal, Chair of the Faculty of Economics; Lord Eatwell, President, Queens' College; Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor; and  (sittting) Dr Mohamend A. El-Erian

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