Summit History

See how it all began.

The beginning

When the first 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.

The Summit was entitled 'No longer inevitable? The future of the World Economy after September 11th'.


Globalisation and development

The theme for the 2003 event was 'Globalisation and Development' – an early sign that the Summit would focus not only on economics, but on issues such as politics and international relations. The diverse range of topics discussed at the Summit remains a tradition to this day.

The second annual Summit also consolidated on the first with speakers from both the IMF and the World Bank.

Speakers included:

  • Clive Crook, former Deputy Editor of The Economist
  • Dr. Lopez-Claros, former economist at the International Monetary Fund
  • Jean Lambert, MEP
  • Johannes F. Linn, former Vice President at the World Bank

Money for nothing: the dire straits of the modern economy

The Summit quickly built a reputation for hosting the renowned speakers that it enjoys today.

In 2004, the Summit welcomed around 300 students, both from Warwick and enjoyed the largest number of visitors from other universities to date.

Speakers included:

  • John Kay, UK economist
  • Tony Golding, author of The City: The Great Expectations Machine
  • Prof. Jean-Pierre Lehmann of IMD and pioneer of the EVIAN group.

The first Nobel Laureate to speak at WES

By 2005 the Summit was firmly established as a major event at Warwick and in the UK. The Summit sold out at 500 students, with another 1,034 on the waiting list and the number of external delegates just kept on rising, indicating how successful the Summit had been in its first three years. The Summit also enjoyed sponsorship from RBS and Barclays.

This year, WES welcomed its first Nobel Laureate, Professor John Nash (1994), who gave the keynote address.


The Summit expands nationally

By 2006, the Summit was regularly attracting the biggest names in economics, business and politics – including Dr. Vince Cable, now the Coalition's Business Secretary.

Speakers included:

  • Prof. Dr. Norbert Walter, Managing Director at Deutsche Bank Research and Chief Economist of DB Group
  • Prof. Dean Baker, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington
  • Dr. Vincent Cable MP, Treasury Spokesman for the Liberal Democrats.

Challenging paradigms

Speakers included:

  • Harriet Lamb, Director of The Fairtrade Foundation
  • Dr. Madsen Pirie, President of the Adam Smith Institute
  • Prof. Charles Wheelan, University of Chicago, author of "Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science"

In addition, it was held on the same weekend of the first Economics Ball, organised by Warwick Economics Society.


World class

By 2008 the Summit could truly call itself a world class event.

Delegates arrived from universities all around the UK, but also from Europe: students from Vienna and Milan were amongst those to hear two internationally renowned British economists, John Kay and Paul Omerod.

Speakers included:

  • Prof. John Kay, UK economist: Director of several investment companies and a director of the British Bank Halifax for nine years, one of the largest retail financial services businesses in Europe.
  • Tim Harford: British Economist, journalist and writer (inc. "The Undercover Economist").
  • Paul Ormerod: multidisciplinary UK economist and writer (inc. "Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction, and Economics").
  • Dr. Kori Udovicki- Assistant Secretary-General of UN
  • Edgar E. Peters - Chief Investment Strategist and Director at PanAngora Asset Management Inc., Expert on chaos theory.
  • Stephen King - Group Chief Economist – HSBC

Policy makers and central bankers

2009's Warwick Economics Summit was the first to be attended by a member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee – Kate Barker.

Hundreds of students also had the chance to hear from Professor Ewald Nowotny, Governor of the Austrian National Bank.

Speakers included:

  • John Authers, Global Head of the business and finance column Lex of the Financial Times.
  • Patrick Birley, CEO of European Climate Exchange.
  • Paul Donovan, Deputy Head of Global Economics at UBS Investment Bank and member of Royal Economic Society
  • Ian Stewart, Macroeconomic Research Director of Deloitte and former Chief Economist for Europe at Merril Lynch
  • Kevin Kallaugher, KAL, editorial cartoonist for The Economist.
  • Kate Barker CBE, British economist and former external member of the Monetary Policy Committee.
  • Prof. Ewald Nowotny, Governor of the Austrian National Bank.

The Chancellor speaks

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.

Attendance levels remained as high as ever, with the number of external students also increasing, including a delegation from UC Berkeley.

The Summit also hosted its first ever promotional event, with Marek Belka, head of the National Bank of Poland, as the honoured guest speaker.

Speakers included:

  • Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer on the government's economic strategy
  • Digby Jones, Lord Jones, Business Ambassador at UK Trade & Investment, on "Recovery?
  • Bob Janjuah, RBS Chief Markets Stragetist, on "Debt, Deflation and Denial"
  • Dr. Paul Wilmott, Researcher in Quantitative Finance on "Common Mistakes in Risk Management"
  • Prof. Abhinay Muthoo, Head of the Department of Economics at Warwick University on "Democracy and Economic Performance"
  • Kevin Kallaugher, KAL, editorial cartoonist for The Economist.
  • Karen Chouhan, Director of Equanomics-UK: Karen Couhan is the founder and Director of Equanomics-Uk.
  • Matthew Taylor, CEO of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).
  • Fred Harrison, Economist and Research Director of “Land Research Trust”: Fred Harrison is famous for being the first economist to have predicted the global financial crises of 2007-2010

The Rogue Trader

The 2011 Summit saw WES branch out even further than it had done in previous years. 16 speakers from the fields of journalism, finance, economics and academia spoke on a wide variety of intriguing topics. These included Newsnight economics editor Paul Mason, Bank of England director Andy Haldane and the notorious rogue trader, Nick Leeson. The delegates comprised 400 students from 48 universities in 17 countries with internal tickets selling out in four days, a new record at the time. As well as the high calibre of speakers during the day, an acclaimed Masquerade Ball was also held on the Saturday evening.

For the first time, the Summit was live-streamed online, which enabled non delegates to hear the speakers and ask questions. Furthermore, there was a collaborative blog with 'Europe & me' magazine covering the Summit. WES also enjoyed crucial promotional support from RBS & McKinsey in the run up to the Summit.

Speakers included:

  • Nick Leeson, Infamous trader whose unchecked risk-taking caused 'the biggest financial scandal of the 20th century', on "The Original Rogue Trader"
  • Tim Harford, FT 'Dear Economist' columnist and author of 'The Undercover Economist', on "The Economics of Sex, Alcohol and Happiness"
  • Peter Backus, Teaching Fellow at the Department of Economics, University of Warwick, on "Why I don't have a girlfriend"
  • Daniel Franklin, Executive Editor of The Economist and the Editor of The World in 2011, on "Mega Trends"
  • Andy Haldane, Executive Director of Financial Stability, The Bank of England, on "Finance and Stability"
  • Linda Yueh, Director of the China Growth Centre, Oxford University and Economics Correspondent, Bloomberg TV, on "The Economy of China: Why institutional reforms are key"
  • Tim Congdon CBE, Economist and journalist, on "Did Quantitative Easing save the world?"
  • Gregory Crawford, Econometrics lecturer at the University of Warwick, on "Doing Good with (Good) Econometrics"
  • Paul Mason, Economics Editor for Newsnight, on "Currency Wars"

Bringing Economics to life

The 11th Warwick Economics Summit was by far the biggest and most internationally diverse in its history.

Two new schemes were launched: 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 Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur.

The 2012 Summit was the second Warwick Economics Summit to welcome a Nobel Laureate in Professor George A. Akerlof – but it was Dr. Adam Posen of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee who attracted the attention of the national press.

Speakers during the Summit weekend included:

  • Professor George A. Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences (2001) and Koshland Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley on "Phishing for Phools"
  • Professor Steven E. Landsburg, bestselling author of The Armchair Economist and Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester, New York on "More Sex is Safer Sex and Other Surprises"
  • Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, voted the best Central Bank Governor in the World in 2011 and featured in Time Magazine's TIME100 list of most influential people of 2011 on "Banking reforms in Nigeria and its Impact on the Economy"
  • Rufus H. Yerxa, Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organisation on "The WTO in an Era of Change"
  • Dr Adam Posen, Member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee on "What we should re-learn about macroeconomics from the British Great Recession"
  • Baroness Vadera, former Government Minister and Investment Banker on "In Conversation about the Euro Crisis"
  • Paul Ormerod, renowned British economist on "21st Century Economics"
  • John O'Sullivan, Britain Economics Editor for The Economist on "Greece and the Euro Crisis"

Not just a concept

The 2013 Summit proved more popular than ever as internal tickets sold out in just 12 minutes, a new record for student-run events at Warwick Students’ Union.

This, along with a new brand, featuring a new website and new image, ensured the Summit was set for success.

Vince Cable, the now Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, returned, and Bank of England policymaker, Martin Weale, made the news with his calls for a weaker pound to aid the British recovery.

2013 Speakers included:

  • Andrew Bailey, Member of the Bank of England, and now Deputy Govenor for Prudential Regulation and Chief Executive Officer of the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), on “Financial Regultion – the future”
  • Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), on “The Future of the World Trading System”
  • Martin Weale, Member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, on “UK Balance of Payments”
  • Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, on “The Economic Landscape in Today’s World”
  • Sir Bob Kerslake, Head of the Civil Service, on “Local Growth and the Economist’s Role in the Civil Service”
  • Surin Pitsuwan, 12th Secretary General of ASEAN, on “East Asia’s Economic Integration and its Implications for the Global Economy”

Policymakers and a Nobel Laureate

The 13th Warwick Economics Summit again saw huge demand for tickets, with internal tickets selling out in under 7 minutes, a new record. This reflected the continued success and achievements of the Summit.

The 2014 summit welcomed the third Nobel Laureate to speak at a Warwick Economics Summit, in Professor Eric Maskin, who lectured alongside many distinguished speakers from the fields of policymaking, journalism and academia.

2014 speakers included:

  • Professor Eric S. Maskin, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences (2007) and Adams University Professor at Harvard University on "How to make the right decisions without knowing people's preferences: Mechanism Design"
  • Lisa Buckingham OBE, former Editor of the Financial Mail on "Breaking the Mould: Women in Leadership"
  • Sir Richard Lambert, former Director-General of the CBI and Chancellor of the University of Warwick on "Can banks be reformed?"
  • Victoria Chick, Emeritus Professor of Economics at University College London on "Keynes for Today?"
  • Dr Gerard Lyons, Chief Economic Advisor to London Mayor Boris Johnson on "The new global economic order and why we should be positive"
  • Diane Coyle OBE, Vice Chairman of the BBC Trust & visiting Professor at the University of Manchester on "Measuring economic & social progress: how, what and why?"
  • Professor Ian Goldin, former Vice President of the World Bank on "Divided Nations: How global governance is failing and what we can do about it."
  • Ann Pettifor, Director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PRIME) on "Just Money - How society can break the despotic power of finance."

Rethink policy, finance, sustainability and globalisation

Warwick Economics Summit 2015 portrayed impeccable success with sales of internal tickets that was completed in just less than 2 minutes! This was another new record and clearly was a testament of the success of the Summit.

In 2015, the event was made exceptionally interesting as a contribution of the keynote speakers such as Vitor Constancio (Vice President of the ECB), Zhu Min (Deputy Managing Director of the IMF) and many other prominent speakers to share their thoughts to talented and bright delegates from around the world.

The recent new initiative of the WES 2015 team was, “Meet the Speakers” session. It provided the student the exposure to getting further insights from the speakers themselves.

2015 speakers included:

  • Vitor Constancio, Vice President of the European Central Bank on "Macro-prudential policies and the growing size of shadow banking"
  • Sir Partha Dasgupta, Professor Emeritus Of Economics At The University Of Cambridge on "Wealth and Well-Being"
  • Jan Vincent-Rostowski, Former Finance Minister Of Poland on "Europe in Crisis"
  • Raoul Pal, Hedge Fund Manager & Entrepreneur on "The need to study real world economics"
  • Zhu Min, Deputy Managing Director Of The IMF on "A Challenging New World"
  • George Buckley, Chief UK Economist at Deutsche Bank on “Will central banks ever raise rates again?”
  • Athanasios Orphanides, Former Governor Of Cyprus Central Bank on “The Politics of the Euro Area Crisis”

Growing concerns over Europe, development and growth

The 15th Warwick Economics Summit was an unparalleled success, as it welcomed its fourth Nobel Prize to its already-rich collection of impressive speakers. 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 hosted a number of prominent speakers, including Enrico Letta, the former Prime Minister of Italy, who praised the Summit for being ‘modern and creative’ and applauded the teamwork behind organizing the student-led conference.

2016 speakers included:

  • 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
  • Jean-François Copé, former Minister of the Budget for the French Government and currently mayor of Meaux and a member of parliament at the French National Assembly
  • Michael Møller, Director-General United Nations office at Geneva, having 35 years of experience as an international civil servant in the United Nations
  • Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa to the G20, advising the Secretary-General since 2006
  • 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
  • Scott B. Sumner, Director of Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center and Author of “The Money Illusion“

Economics and Political Power entangled

In 2017 WES went truly global. All eyes and media were on us as we hosted the Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Stanley Fischer just a few weeks after the Inauguration of US President Donald Trump. We also had the pleasure to welcome our fifth Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences Prof. Finn E. Kydland and the former PM of Benin Lionel Zinsou.

For the first time in our history the words of the speakers instantly reached the offices of all major financial institutions as we strengthened our collaboration with Bloomberg and live streamed all talks on Bloomberg Terminals.

With more than 500 delegates from all over the world, including a new delegation form UCLA, we moved all activities to the Oculus, the new flagship lecture theatre of the University.

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
  • Dr. 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
  • Dr. Peter Wuffli, former Group CEO of UBS and current Chairman of the Elea Foundation

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

The hugely successful 17th edition of the Warwick Economics Summit turned heads around the world with its wide array of influential speakers. This includes Tawakkol Karman, who was the first and at the time, only, Arab woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. She 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.

The Summit also saw its first address by a serving head-of-state who was in office at the time: Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta, who joined the conference remotely via video message. Besides this, we welcomed Mario Monti, the former Prime Minister of Italy.

Speakers included:

  • Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, journalist and activist, who played a pivotal role in the 2011 Yemeni uprises during the Arab Spring
  • Mervyn King, Baron King of Lothbury, the Governor of the Bank of England during the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and one of the most influential central bankers of the 21st century
  • Prof. John B. Taylor, the founding father of the paradigm-shifting 'Taylor Rule' used by most Central Bankers around the world, and current professor of Economics at Stanford University.
  • Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and the key architect of the landmark COP21 Paris Climate Agreement
  • Mario Monti, former Prime Minister of Italy and current President of Bocconi University
  • Dame Barbara Stocking, former CEO of Oxfam and current President of the Murray Edwards College in Cambridge.
  • Cecilia Skinglsey, Deputy Governor of the Swedish Central Bank, the Riksbank
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