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Debora Spar

  • President of Barnard College

Debora Spar is the president of Barnard College, a private women's liberal arts college affiliated with Columbia University.  Since her arrival, Spar has been a vocal proponent of women’s education and leadership, examining how to adjust liberal arts education to a 21st century where new global skills are demanded.

She has spearheaded a number of innovative initiatives including the founding of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies, an interdisciplinary center devoted to the theory and practice of women's leadership, and Barnard’s Global Symposium series, an annual gathering of high-profile and accomplished female leaders held each year in a different region of the world.

Prior to joining Barnard, Spar spent 17 years on the faculty of Harvard Business School where she taught courses on the politics of international business, comparative capitalism, and economic development.

A political scientist by training, Spar’s scholarly research focused on issues of international political economy, examining how rules are established in new or emerging markets and how firms and governments together shape the evolving global economy. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and currently serves as a trustee of the Nightingale-Bamford School and a director of Goldman Sachs.

Spar is a graduate of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and received her doctorate in government from Harvard.