Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals

2018 Recipients

Dr. Xinshen Diao, China
Ph.D., Applied Economics (1995)

headshot of Dr. DiaoDr. Xinshen Diao has dedicated more than 30 years of work and research to improving the lives of some of the world’s most underprivileged people. She is a research leader in poverty reduction analysis in African countries, and focuses on economic and agricultural transformations.

Growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution, Dr. Diao was not able to receive a traditional education, instead working in a textile factory. However, with disciplined self-study and determination, she qualified for admission to the prestigious Beijing Institute of Economics, where she earned her B.A. and M.A. She would go on to work within China’s post-Mao government, informing and influencing the creation of agricultural policy reforms.

Dr. Diao was accepted into the University of Minnesota’s Ph.D. program in Applied Economics in 1990. A strong student, she worked for The World Bank during her studies, graduating in 1995. Shortly after graduation, Dr. Diao started her tenure with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). While focusing on her critical research, Dr. Daio was able to climb the ranks at IFPRI, and now serves as the deputy director of the Development Strategy and Governance Division.

Today, in addition to her duties as deputy director, Dr. Diao is a senior research fellow and flagship leader at the Institute. She is also the program leader at the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System in Asia, and the program deputy director at the Food Security Project. More than 100 of her articles have been published in peer-reviewed economic journals, IFPRI books and monographs, and external book chapters. She has traveled extensively to many countries while conducting her research.

In naming Dr. Xinshen Diao as a recipient of the Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals, the selection committee acknowledges her many research contributions and recognizes the determination, leadership, and resourcefulness she has displayed throughout her career to improving lives around the world.