Bangkok, Thailand, March 13, 2015—The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce the awarding of the Wharton Dean’s Medal, the School’s highest honor, to a Penn alumna who has had a tremendous economic impact on the Asia region and beyond, Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett said, “Dr. Zeti is a leader of amazing accomplishments. She has also successfully navigated the Malaysian economy through more than one financial crisis. She is dedicated to good governance and has been a trailblazer with her widely recognized work in both regional financial integration and internationalization of Islamic finance. Dr. Zeti is an incredible policy maker, central banker, and person, and we are proud to count her as a friend of the Wharton School. It is an honor to present her with the Dean’s Medal.”
The Dean’s Medal was created in 1983 to recognize outstanding leaders of private enterprise, public service, and academia. The awardees are chosen for their contributions to the enlargement of the global economy and to improvement in the lives of people worldwide. The Dean selects only a very small number of individuals who, through excellence in management, have truly made a difference in the creation of wealth and value, and in the promotion of a peaceful and prosperous world.
Appointed Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Bank of Malaysia) in 2000, Dr. Zeti has had an important role in successfully managing the economy during the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990s and more recently on the effects of the global financial crisis. During both episodes, a strong rapid recovery was achieved. The policy approaches, the financial and economic reforms, and the courage to break new ground have drawn significant international attention. In addition, the wide-ranging financial reforms and development of financial markets and infrastructure have resulted in a financial sector that is more diversified, sound, and resilient to the challenges of the changing global financial landscape. This period also saw several new legislations enacted for the financial sector and the progressive liberalization of the Malaysian financial system
In the Asian region, Dr. Zeti has been actively involved in strengthening regional cooperation and financial integration. In 2006, she chaired the Executives’ Meeting of East Asia Pacific Central Banks (EMEAP) taskforce that prepared the report for the future direction of central bank financial cooperation in the region, which continues today. A founding member of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Asian Consultative Council, she was also the first co-chair of the Financial Stability Board Regional Consultative Group for Asia.
Dr. Zeti participates extensively in international forums in many parts of the world, including Asia, Europe, the United States, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. She also acts as the voice of emerging economies in highlighting their role in the global economy. She was a member of the Commission of Experts of the President of the United Nations General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System in 2009, a high-level task force established to examine reforms to the global financial system. She is currently the Chair of the BIS Central Bank Governance Group. In the report card on Central Bank Governors by the Global Finance publication, Dr. Zeti has received an “A” grade for 11 consecutive years for her pivotal work in economic management and monetary policy.
Dr. Zeti has had an influential role in the global development of Islamic finance, in particular in the establishment of the Islamic Financial Services Board and International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation. She headed a taskforce that prepared a report identifying the building blocks that would further strengthen the institutional arrangements for financial stability in the Islamic financial system. Dr. Zeti also had a significant role in the development of talent in the Islamic financial services industry, including the establishment of the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), the first global university dedicated to Islamic finance. In recognition of Dr. Zeti’s substantial contribution in this area, she was awarded the prestigious IDB Prize in Islamic Banking and Finance by the Islamic Development Bank in 2012 and the Lifetime Achievement Award conferred by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai in 2015.
For two decades, Dr. Zeti has been involved in the financial inclusion agenda at the national and international level. This has involved the development of the enabling environment, the leverage of technology and financial education to achieve more inclusive financial systems, and thus the potential for more balanced growth. Equally important has been engagement with international standard setting bodies to avoid the unintended consequences of their standards on this agenda.
She received her PhD in Economics in 1978 from the University of Pennsylvania.
About the Wharton School
Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates ongoing economic and social value around the world. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and a powerful alumni network of more than 93,000 graduates.