Dr. Robert L. Thompson

Senior Fellow

Dr. Robert L. ThompsonDr. Robert L. Thompson is a senior fellow for The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and professor emeritus for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He retired recently from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he held the Gardner Endowed Chair in Agricultural Policy from 2004 to 2010. Dr. Thompson, who maintains an intensive lecture schedule all over the United States and around the world, is frequently quoted in the media on agricultural policy, agricultural trade and international development issues.

From 1998 through 2002 he was at the World Bank, where he served as Director of Agriculture and Rural Development and as Senior Advisor for Agricultural Trade Policy. Prior to joining the World Bank, he served as president and CEO of the Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development (1993-98); as dean of agriculture (1987-93) and professor of agricultural economics (1974-93) at Purdue University; as assistant secretary for economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (1985-87) and as senior staff economist for food and agriculture at the President's Council of Economic Advisers (1983-85). 

Thompson, who received his B.S. degree from Cornell University and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University, holds honorary doctorates from the Pennsylvania State University and Dalhousie University (Canada). He is a fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry and of the Ukrainian Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

Raised on a New York State dairy farm, Dr. Thompson has extensive international experience and has lectured, consulted, or conducted research in more than 90 countries worldwide, including extended periods in Denmark, Laos, and Brazil. He is a former president of the International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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