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Looking back at 2021

In her Christmas message, CEPR's President picks out some highlights from 2021 as well as some challenges and disappointments for the network.

This has been a rollercoaster of a year. We all experienced big hopes, great highs and probably quite a few lows. We all wish we were not living in such "interesting times", as the Chinese curse goes, but certainly, these are interesting times, demanding from us an exceptionally high level of nimbleness, strength, and resilience.  Equally certainly, CEPR has demonstrated that it has these qualities. 

Here are a few of my favourite CEPR highlights of 2021:

  • Gaining the support of a consortium of French funders for CEPR’s eventual move to Paris and the opening, on October 1st, of CEPR’s Paris office, which is located on the Boulevard St-Germain-des-Pres.
  • Organising an incredible conference programme for the first Paris Winter Symposium in only six weeks - a miracle only made possible due to the work our exceptional staff together with a fantastic response from the network. 
  • Publishing Covid Economics.  A total of 83 issues, with the last one in the summer amid hopes that the worst of the pandemic was over, the job was done, and we could move on to other topics.
  • Having the first in-person CEPR workshop since March 2020, held at EUI in Florence, to resume the discussion on reform of the European Economic Architecture.
  • Substantially increasing our focus on climate economics and highlighting CEPR contributions for COP26. 
  • CEPR continuing to produce numbers of Discussion Papers, Vox columns, eBooks, and webinars that are substantially above pre-pandemic levels.
  • CEPR’s two major projects funded by the UK’s FCDO going from strength to strength. STEG, which looks at structural transformation in LICs, has funded its first projects, while one lecture in its virtual course on Key Concepts on Macro Development became the CEPR event to have the largest number of participants in 2021. PEDL is now starting to focus on issues relating to the private sector and climate change; particularly on projects related to adaptation and resilience in the face of climate change, and on mitigating pollution and improving local environmental conditions.

On the other hand, there have been some challenges and disappointments for us: Not actually being able to fully occupy our offices (in Paris or London), as CEPR staff continued to mostly work from home, has been a challenge.  Undoing and postponing the incredible Paris Symposium programme was disappointing to all who had so looked forward to this meeting, as well as to the CEPR leaders and staff who had worked so hard to make it happen.

Nevertheless, the highlights dominate. Looking at all that has been achieved, I continue to be amazed by the level of engagement and positive energy in this network. If CEPR has once again excelled in this past year, it is thanks to our friends and fellows.

Thank you for being part of this wonderful community.

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