LSE honorary degree awarded to Christine Lagarde

A shining example of how leaders can use the power of the social sciences for the betterment of humanity
- LSE Director Minouche Shafik
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Christine Lagarde receives honorary degree Nigel Stead

LSE has awarded an honorary degree to Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, for a lifetime of distinguished service in economic policymaking at national and international levels.

Christine Lagarde has been the President of the European Central Bank since November 2019. Between 2011 and 2019, she served as the eleventh Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Prior to that she served as French Economic Finance Minister from 2007 to 2011 after having been Trade Secretary from 2005 to 2007. A lawyer by background, she practiced for 20 years with the international law firm Baker McKenzie, of which she became global chairman in 1999. In all such positions, she was the first woman to serve.

In 2020, Lagarde was ranked the second most influential woman in the world by Forbes and has been named by TIME as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Christine Lagarde was named Officier in the Légion d'honneur in April 2012 and Commandeur dans l’ordre national du mérite in May 2021.

LSE Director Minouche Shafik presented the award at an LSE Public Lecture with guest speakers Christine Lagarde and José Viñals on Wednesday 15 June 2022.

In her acceptance speech, President Lagarde thanked LSE for her honorary doctorate, and explained that she had benefitted from the wisdom of exceptional people throughout her career. She reflected on crisis management, and identified three specific qualities that distinguish sound policymaking in times of crisis: courage, consistency, and compassion. She said:

“Crises are always times of profound uncertainty, because they are never the same twice. And faced with uncertainty, you must have courage – the courage to act even when you do not have the full information at hand, and to change your mind when the facts become clearer.

“But courage has to be paired with consistency. Crises call for bold decisions and flexible minds, but they cannot become a license for any type of action. What anchors you on the right path is consistency with the mandate that you have been given by the public.

“And how do you make sure that you stay true to the spirit, and not only the letter of that mandate? The answer is compassion – the compassion to understand the impact of your actions on the public, whom you ultimately serve.”

LSE Director Minouche Shafik said of the award: “Christine Lagarde is one of the most prominent and influential women in the world, and a shining example of how leaders can use the power of the social sciences for the betterment of humanity. She has shaped economic policy at the national, regional and international level, always with an eye to the common good. Her work and its impact is richly deserving of this honour from the School community, and I am personally delighted to formally confer it upon her -  a woman that I both respect and admire."