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UC postgrad to do an economic policy degree at Columbia

Canterbury postgraduate the first New Zealander to do an economic policy degree at Columbia

June 24, 2014

A University of Canterbury postgraduate is the first New Zealander to undertake an economic policy degree at the University of Columbia.

George Hampton was tonight awarded a Fulbright scholarship at Parliament House. He was one of 26 postgraduates from all over New Zealand to receive the awards. The University of Canterbury received 10 awards – more than any other New Zealand university.

Hampton’s scholarship to Columbia is for an advanced degree in economics and ends with a secondment to the World Bank in Washington DC. He will be focusing on transitioning economies and how they can perform better.

“At Canterbury I did a law degree, a BA in history and was top scholar with first class honours in the diplomacy and international relations programme. I was president of the Students’ Association in 2005, leading a group of candidates to turn over the entire association for the first time since 1959 at the elections in 2004. In 2001, during my second year at Canterbury, I was elected to the Fendalton Waimairi Community Board of the Christchurch City Council.”

After graduating from Canterbury, Hampton worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade covering trade, the Pacific, and disarmament and non-proliferation. In 2008 he took leave from the ministry to serve as an adviser to Prime Minister Helen Clark. Two years later he was seconded as private secretary to the Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, the Hon Georgina te Heuheu.

He was later posted to Vienna as Deputy Head of Mission to the United Nations. Last year he was selected as one of 20 young strategists globally by Johns Hopkins University and the International Institute for Strategic Studies for their joint programme in security and geo-economics.

“It is a credit to the University of Canterbury that a degree from there can open doors around the world. I was admitted to Harvard and other universities but chose Columbia to push myself out of my comfort zone with an advanced degree in economics and time at the World Bank.

“The challenge of studying economics in New York City, with Wall Street and the United Nations just down the road is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I’ll also be together with my partner in New York Gemma Peacocke who will be studying a Master of Music in composition at New York University.

“I was inspired to study economics in part because of the late Sir Paul Callaghan. Sir Paul, despite his background as an eminent scientist, put himself at the centre of the debate around the formula for New Zealand’s future economic success,” Hampton says.


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