Former development official to discuss climate change's economic impact

Contact: Molly Goaley and Jeanne Baron

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A former director general of independent evaluation at the Asian Development Bank will return to campus Wednesday, Oct. 11, to discuss his latest book and lead a panel discussion with Western Michigan University climate experts.

Dr. Vinod Thomas, a WMU alumnus, will speak beginning at 4 p.m. in 2028 Brown Hall. WMU President Emeritus John M. Dunn will offer introductory remarks, and the panel discussion will follow Thomas' presentation. The program, which is free and open to the public, will conclude with a reception and light refreshments from 5 to 6 p.m. in 3025 Brown Hall.

The panel discussion will focus on the subject of Thomas' most recent book, "Climate Change and Natural Disasters: Transforming Economies and Policies for a Sustainable Future." Four WMU faculty members with climate expertise will join the author for the panel discussion, which will address the global increase in natural disasters as well as their impact on the developing world.

Participating on the panel will be Drs. Paul Clements, professor of political science; Lisa Dechano-Cook, associate professor of geography; Duane Hampton, associate professor of geosciences; and Carson Reeling, assistant professor of economics as well as of environment and sustainability.

The program is being co-sponsored by WMU's Department of Economics and Institute for the Environment and Sustainability.

Dr. Vinod Thomas

Photo of Dr. Vinod Thomas.

Dr. Vinod Thomas

Thomas was director general of independent evaluation at the Asian Development Bank from 2011 to 2016. During this time, he led the team that assesses the bank's development effectiveness. He also was responsible for evaluating policies and thematic issues at the company's regional, national and sector levels.

Prior to that, Thomas had served in several capacities since the 1970s at the World Bank. They included chief economist for Asia and the position he held when he retired from the organization in 2011, director general and senior vice president of the Independent Evaluation Group. More recently, Thomas has served as a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore and Asian Institute of Management.

He is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books and numerous articles and reports. His current research interests include climate change and the environment, green growth, disparities and inclusive growth, health and education, economic policy and reform, governance and institutions, evaluation and results, and organizational change and management.

Thomas has received several honors, including the World Bank's Green Award and Award for Excellence, and the WMU College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Achievement Award from the Department of Economics.

He has earned academic degrees in economics from several institutions: a bachelor's degree from St. Stephen's College, bachelor's and master's degrees from WMU, and master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago.

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