Obama’s treasury pick learnt his Three Rs in India

January 27th, 2009 - 10:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Jan 27 (IANS) The man President Barack Obama has picked to steer the US out of its worst financial crisis in decades learnt his three Rs in India.Timothy Geithner, who has become the 75th US Treasury Secretary, spent his childhood in India, where his father Peter was the Ford Foundation’s deputy representative for India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Geithner did not forget his days in the Indian capital where he had his elementary schooling with the family living in New Friends Colony.

“My father gave me, among many wonderful things, the important gift of showing me the world as a child. He took us to live in Zambia and Rhodesia, then to India and Thailand, and from those places I saw America through the eyes of others,” Geithner recalled at his swearing-in Monday shortly after Senate confirmation.

“It was that experience - seeing first hand the extraordinary influence of American policy on the world - that led me to work in (the) government,” said Geithner, who has also worked in the Treasury Department about 20 years ago.

Asia has made an indelible impact on the Geithner family: after his years in Delhi, Geithner grew up in Thailand, China and Japan when the elder Geithner was executing the Ford Foundation’s Asia programmes for 28 years. The family also lived in East Africa with its solid India links.

With 100 percent of global growth likely to be confined to emerging economies this year and in 2009, India, China and Southeast Asia will equally compete for Geithner’s attention as America tries to protect its place in the world economy.

Geithner is seen here as the man to carry forward Henry Kissinger’s vision of long-term business alliances with India.

Geithner’s first job after graduating from Dartmouth College and then earning a Master’s degree in international economics and Asian studies from Johns Hopkins University was with Kissinger and Associates, a strategic consultancy firm founded by the former secretary of state.

From 1985 to 1988, Geithner did research on Asia at Kissinger and Associates. He was eminently qualified to do so with his fluency in both Japanese and Chinese and his academic work on East Asia.

Geithner senior is currently an advisor to the Asia Centre at Harvard University and a consultant to the Asia Pacific Philanthropy Consortium, Rockefeller Foundation, Sasakawa Peace Foundation, among others.

Peter Geithner also serves on the boards of National Committee on US-China Relations, China Centre for Economic Research (Peking University) and Centre for the Advanced Study of India (University of Pennsylvania).

He has also written a book titled “Diaspora Philanthropy and Equitable Development in China and India”, published by Harvard University Press.

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