Warwick Economics Summit

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Warwick Economics Summit
MottoJoin the Debate
FormationJanuary 2002; 21 years ago (2002-01)
TypeStudent-led Summit
PurposeEconomics and Public Policy, Debate
HeadquartersUniversity of Warwick, UK
Region served
Official language

The Warwick Economics Summit (WES) is one of the largest student-run economic conferences in Europe (cite). WES was first held in 2002 and is now in its 20th year of operations. The 19th edition will run from the 1st-3rd February 2020.

The Warwick Economics Summit is held at the University of Warwick. The Summit’s focus goes beyond economics, encompassing the broader spheres of the social sciences, including development, international relations, law, finance, public policy, global health, and psychology. Past speakers at WES have included 6 Nobel Laureates (in Economics and Peace), academics, politicians, journalists, heads of non-governmental organisations and supranational bodies like the UN, IMF, and the World Bank.

By 2020, the Summit has grown to host more than 500 delegates from 36 countries(cite) ; student delegations have come from universities including Harvard University[1], UCLA, Stanford University, McGill University, Sciences Po, ESADE, the London School of Economics, Oxford University, Cambridge University, Bocconi University, the University of Tokyo, National University of Singapore, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, among others.

(cite the above0 Thanks to the high-profile speakers that have addressed the conference, WES has gathered significant media attention throughout the years. In the past, WES has attracted coverage from leading media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Le Monde, La Repubblica, Financial Times, Bloomberg L.P.|Bloomberg. The Independent, CNBC and the BBC,

Goal of the Summit

WES’ mission is cited as "providing an international forum of ideas for the world’s brightest students and most influential speakers". The event gives particular prominence to promoting constructive debate on issues of current significance and major economic, political, technological, and social developments.

The theme of the conference is chosen each year based on relevant news affairs and summit speakers. In recent years, topics have evolved from purely business and economics-focused to more universal in focus, as represented by the themes ‘Globalisation and Development’ (2003), ‘Concerns for the Future: Human Rights, Sustainability, and New Forms of Economic Governance (2018), and Uncertainty and Populism’ (2019)

Past Speakers to WES

  • Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia
  • Maurice Obstfeld- Former Chief Economist at the IMF (2015-2018)
  • Mervyn King GBE, Governor of the Bank of England (2003-2013)
  • Stanley Fischer, Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve

File:Stanley Fischer WES.jpg|thumb|Stanley Fischer WES 2017

  • Guðni Th. Jóhannesson- President of Iceland
  • Angela Kane- Former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

File:Angela Kane WES.jpg|thumb|left|Angela Kane at WES 2019

  • Five Nobel Laureates in Economics, including Prof. John Forbes Nash Jr, Prof. George Akerlof, and Prof Eric Maskin
  • John B. Taylor, founder of the Taylor Rule and professor at Stanford University
  • Tawakkol Karman, journalist, activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

File:Tawakkol Karman WES.jpg|thumb|Tawakkol Karman WES 2018

  • Martin Weale, - Director of National Insitute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) and member of Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
  • Benny Dembitzer- Managing Director of Grassroots Africa, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

File:Benny Dembitzer WES.jpg|thumb|left|Benny Dembitzer WES 2019

  • Christos Stylianides - European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection
  • John Holmes CBE- Chair of the UK Electoral Commission
  • Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation
  • Dame Barbara Stocking, former CEO of Oxfam

File:Barbara Stocking WES.jpg|thumb|left| Barbara Stocking WES 2018

  • Lord Andrew Lansley CBE- Former Secretary of State for Health
  • Mario Monti, former Prime Minister of Italy
  • Vítor Constâncio, Vice-President of the European Central Bank
  • Prof. Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director of the IMF
  • Michael Moller, Director of the UN Office in Geneva
  • Alistair Darling MP, former Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Andrea Sironi- Chairman of Borsa Italiana (Italian Stock Exchange)

  • Ian Goldin, former Vice President of the World Bank
  • Rachel Glennerster- Chief Economist at the Department for International Development, former executive director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)
  • Joaquín Almunia- Former Vice-President of the European Commission

  • Lionel Zinsou- former Prime Minister of Benin

File:Lionel Zinsou- WES 2017.jpg|thumb|left|Lionel Zinsou at WES 2017

Student Delegations

In 2001, the Warwick Economics Summit was attended by roughly 170 students. By 2019, the Summit hosted more than 500 delegates from 36 countries. (cite)

Past student delegations include universities in the UK (LSE, Oxford, Cambridge), the US (Harvard, UCLA, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford), France (Sciences Po), Spain (ESADE), Italy (Bocconi University), Sweden, Russia, Japan, Nigeria, and India, among others.

File:2019 WES DELEGATES.png|thumb|300px| Student Delegations WES 2019


History of the Summit

2002 - 2008: Summit Beginnings

When the inaugural Warwick Economics Summit took place in January 2002, it was the first-ever inter-university undergraduate economics event in the UK. Approximately 170 students, including 40 non-Warwick students, attended lectures, debates and student-led seminars.

In 2005, the Summit welcomed its first Nobel Laureate, Professor John Nash (1994), who gave the keynote address. By 2008 the Summit hosted its first international delegates. Delegates arrived from universities within the UK, but also from Europe: students from Vienna and Milan were amongst those who attended the event.

2009 - 2015: International Growth and Expansion

In 2010, the Summit hosted Alastair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer who spoke of his and the then Labour government's commitment to deficit reduction, which was widely reported on in the media due to the upcoming general election. (cite)

The 11th Warwick Economics Summit, held in 2012, saw the launch of two new schemes. These were the Future Leaders Research Competition in cooperation with Reinvention, the Journal of Undergraduate Research, and the Warwick Economics Summit Bursary, giving students with academic merit and demonstrable financial need the financial support required to come to the Summit. Winners from both new schemes attended the Summit from the University of Cambridge, Harvard University and the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. (cite)

The 2012 Summit was the second Warwick Economics Summit to welcome a Nobel Laureate in Professor George Akerlof. The 2014 summit also welcomed the third Nobel Laureate, Professor Eric Maskin (2007) to speak on “How to make the right decisions without knowing people’s preferences: Mechanism Design”.

In 2015, WES introduced a new initiative, “Meet the Speakers” session, where WES invites delegates to sit in a round table discussion with their speaker of choice.

WES 2016: Growing Concerns over Europe, Development, and Growth

The 15th Warwick Economics Summit, held in 2016, welcomed the fourth Nobel Laureate in Economics with Sir James Mirrlees, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Cambridge. WES 2016 sought to expand its global reach even further, welcoming delegates from 32 countries and 19 universities, including students from Stanford University, which joined WES for the first time. The 2016 summit also hosted its first head of government in Enrico Letta, the former Prime Minister of Italy, who praised the summit for being “modern and creative”.[7]

WES 2016 Speakers included:

  • Dr. Sam Potolicchio, Director of Global and Custom Education at Georgetown and the Distinguished Professor and Department Chair of Global Leadership Studies at the Russian Presidential Academy
  • Jean-François Copé, former Minister of the Budget for the French Government and mayor of Meaux and a member of parliament at the French National Assembly
  • Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.
  • Dr. Enrico Letta, former Prime Minister of Italy and Dean of the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) at Sciences Po
  • Sir James Mirrlees, Nobel Laureate in Economics and Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Cambridge
  • Scott B. Sumner, Director of Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center and author of “The Money Illusion“
  • Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa to the G20, advising the Secretary-General since 2006

WES 2017: Economics and Political Power Entangled

In 2017 WES received one its highest media coverages as Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Stanley Fischer spoke just a few weeks after the Inauguration of US President Donald Trump.:[8][9] [10] [11] [12] In the same year, WES hosted its fifth Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences Prof. Finn E. Kydland and the former Prime Minister of Benin Lionel Zinsou. WES 2017 welcomed over 500 delegates from across the world, including a new student delegation from UCLA.

WES 2017 speakers included:

  • Dr. Stanley Fischer, Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve and former Governor of the Bank of Israel
  • Prof. Finn E. Kydland, recipient of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contribution to the study of “time consistency of economic policy and the driving forces behind business cycles”
  • Martin Wolf CBE, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times and former member of the Independent Commission on Banking
  • Ann Pettifor, Director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PRIME), a network of world-leading economists, and well-known for her several publications predicting the 2007-8 financial crisis
  • Lionel Zinsou, Economist, former Prime Minister of Benin and current President of the think tank Terra Nova
  • Irene Guijt, Head of Research at Oxfam with more than 25 years of experience in rural development, natural resources management, collective action and social justice
  • Peter Wuffli, former Group CEO of UBS and current Chairman of the Elea Foundation

WES 2018: Concerns for the future: human rights, sustainability and new forms of economic governance

The 17th edition of the Warwick Economics Summit hosted a wide array of speakers. This includes Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, journalist, and activist, who played a pivotal role in the 2011 Yemeni uprising during the Arab Spring. Karman made international headlines when she used the Summit as her platform to call out Saudi Arabia and the UAE for their separatist sentiments in Yemen.[13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] The Summit also saw its first address by an active head-of-state with Joseph Muscat, the then Prime Minister of Malta, joining the conference remotely via video-call.

WES 2018 Speakers included:

  • Prof. John B. Taylor, the founding father of the 'Taylor Rule' and professor of Economics at Stanford University
  • Mervyn King, Baron King of Lothbury, the Governor of the Bank of England during the financial crisis of 2007-2008
  • Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, journalist and activist, who played a pivotal role in the 2011 Yemeni uprises during the Arab Spring
  • Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and the key architect of the landmark COP21 Paris Climate Agreement [22]
  • Dame Barbara Stocking, former CEO of Oxfam and current President of the Murray Edwards College in Cambridge
  • Mario Monti, former Prime Minister of Italy and current President of Bocconi University
  • Cecilia Skingsley, Deputy Governor of the Swedish Central Bank, the Riksbank
  • Professor Guy Standing- Co-Founder of the Basic Income Earth Network.
  • Ian Cross- Medical Officer at Doctors Without Borders/MSF
  • Prof Wendy Carlin- Prof Economics UCL and Director of CORE Project

WES 2019: 18th Economics Summit: Uncertainty the focus of the conversation

In 2019 WES received more than 500 delegates from 36 countries, the most it has ever received. At a time of political and economic populism surrounding Brexit, the European Union and 2018 US mid-term elections, ‘Uncertainty’ was the focus of discussion.

The summit also welcomed some of its most high-profile speakers including Maurice Obstfeld, former Chief Economist at the IMF, Rachel Glennerster, Chief Economist at the Department for International Development, Andrés Velasco, former Finance Minister of Chile, and Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, President of Iceland.

2019 Speakers included:

  • Prof. Andrés Velasco- Dean of School of Public Policy (LSE) and Former Finance Minister of Chile
  • Guðni Th. Jóhannesson- President of Iceland
  • Christos Stylianides - European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (Crisis Management)
  • Angela Kane- Former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs
  • Prof. Maurice Obstfeld- Former Chief Economist at the IMF (2015-2018) and Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley.
  • Prof Andrea Sironi- Chairman of Borsa Italiana (Italian Stock Exchange)
  • Lord Andrew Lansley CBE- Former Secretary of State for Health
  • Prof Linda Yueh- Adjunct Professor of Economics at London Business School, Fellow in Economics, Oxford University
  • Sir John Holmes CBE- Chair of the UK Electoral Commission
  • Benny Dembitzer- Managing Director of Grassroots Africa
  • Dr Sharon Weill- Associate Professor at Sciences Po (International Law)
  • Prof. Joaquín Almunia- Former Vice-President of the European Commission
  • Dr Rachel Glennerster- Chief Economist at the Department for International Development

2020 Speakers included:

  • Atifete Jahjaga-Former President of the Republic of Kosovo
  • Zanny Minton Beddoes- Editor in Chief of The Economist
  • Sir Malcolm Rifkind- Former Defence Secretary and Foreign Secretary of the UK and Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee
  • Shirin Ebadi- Political Activist, Lawyer, Founder of the Defenders of Humans Center and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • Sharon Donnery- Deputy Governor of the Irish Central Bank
  • Yves Daccord- Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Carlo Cottarelli- Director of the Observatory on the Italian Public Accounts and Former Executive Director of the IMF
  • Professor Avinash Dixit- John J. F. Sherrerd ’52 University Professor of Economics at Princeton University
  • Giampaolo Di Paola- Former Defence Minister of Italy and the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee

Programme and Sessions

The Warwick Economics Summit takes place during three days at the beginning of February The official program includes different kinds of sessions:

  • The main programme is a series of talks by the speakers, usually 40 minutes long with additional time included for Q&A.
  • Speaker Engagement Sessions are held immediately after the speaker finishes his/her talk, where a selected group of 20 students are invited into a special Q&A session to follow up on any topics of interest.
  • Seminar Sessions are interactive sessions that could be led by current students, faculty members or companies. The seminar sessions host a wide range of topics, from an interactive economics game to a policy-making lab. Past workshops have concerned topics including 'an evaluation of Microfinance' and the 'Cartel economy.'
  • Social Sessions enable participants to continue to engage in an informal dialogue beyond the official programme. For example, on one of the nights, WES host a black-tie ball event with a three-course dinner and an awards ceremony to celebrate the achievements of individual executive members and external summit ambassadors.

WES Presents

Alongside the main summit, WES hosts two separate annual 'WES Presents' speaker events. In 2019 WES hosted Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, and Professor Jagjit Chadha, Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

Location and Information about University of Warwick

The Warwick Economics Summit is held each year at the University of Warwick. The University of Warwick is a public research university founded in 1965 as part of a government initiative to expand higher education.

One of the biggest supporters of the Warwick Economics Summit is Warwick’s Department of Economics, which is constantly ranked as one of the top Economics departments in the UK. The Department consistently ranks within the top five nationwide across a variety of respected university guides and was ranked #1 in the specialist subject table for Economics in The Times and The Sunday Times University League Tables for 2020 (cite to this https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/news/2019/9/ranked_1st_in_the_good_university_guide_2020/)

As of 2018, the Department encompasses approximately 1,200 undergraduates with roughly 330 postgraduates and an academic staff of 86, making it one of the largest at Warwick. It is also host to four research centres. These are the Warwick Economics Research Institute, the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy, the Centre for Research in Economic Theory and its Applications and Decision Research at Warwick.

WES Organisation

The Summit is entirely run and organised by students from the University of Warwick, from the selection of the executive team to the logistics of the Summit week itself. The organisation is currently split into eight teams: Talks, Operations, Communications, External Relations, Social Events, Tech, Finance & Sponsorship, and Marketing.

External Links

Outside of the main summit, WES maintains the debate throughout the year via several key channels and via social media.

  • Official Website of the Warwick Economics Summit [23]
  • Official Youtube Channel of the Warwick Economics Summit [24]

The Warwick Economics Summit Blog [25]


  1. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/02/student-to-attend-warwick-economics-summit/
  2. http://blogs.wsj.com/source/tag/martin-weale/ .
  3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9874144/Exports-can-lead-UK-back-to-growth-says-BoEs-Martin-Weale.html
  4. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ae21ab56-7796-11e2-9e6e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2PyJfvLTJ
  5. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-02-18/pound-falls-to-seven-month-low-after-weale-comments-on-exports
  6. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21496997
  7. http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/warwick-s-international-economics-summit-led-entirely-by-students-praised-by-former-italian-pm-a6864806.html
  8. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed-fischer-idUSKBN15Q0G0
  9. https://www.wsj.com/articles/feds-fischer-issues-warning-on-bank-capital-requirements-1486818344
  10. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-11/fischer-says-fed-focused-on-goals-amid-trump-policy-uncertainty-iz1b6qxw
  11. https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2017/02/11/feds-fischer-forecasts-that-trump-admins-fiscal-policy-will-have-no-effect-at-all/#b9143c13e839 .
  12. http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/11/federal-reserve-vice-chair-stanley-fischer-cites-significant-uncertainty-about-fiscal-policy-under-trump.html
  13. http://www.maghrebemergent.info/actualite/breves/fil-monde/85412-yemen-tawakkol-karman-suspendue-par-son-parti-apres-avoir-accuse-l-arabie-saoudite-et-les-emirats-de-se-comporter-en-occupants.html
  14. https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2018/2/5/saudis-are-occupiers-says-yemens-first-female-nobel-laureate
  15. https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/saudi-slur-backlash-on-nobel-laureate-206199
  16. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/289463/World/Region/Yemen-Islamist-party-suspends-membership-of-Nobel-.aspx
  17. https://www.arabtimesonline.com/news/saudis-missile-iran-accused/
  18. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2018/Feb-05/436860-air-raid-hits-destroys-yemen-criminal-investigations-unit.ashx
  19. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/yemen-crisis-uk-responsibility-saudi-arabia-weapons-supply-nobel-laureate-tawakkol-karman-a8202906.html
  20. http://uk.businessinsider.com/r-yemen-islamist-party-suspends-membership-of-nobel-laureate-karman-2018-2
  21. https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-02-04/yemen-islamist-party-suspends-membership-of-nobel-laureate-karman
  22. http://www.repubblica.it/europa/2018/02/06/news/laurence_tubiana_sulle_politiche_climatiche_l_ue_non_fa_abbastanza-100486
  23. https://warwickeconomicssummit.com/
  24. https://www.youtube.com/user/EconomicsSummit
  25. https://warwickeconomicssummitblog.com/

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