This is the story of how I met the most powerful man in the European Union and found my picture with him in a German newspaper.
Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, attended the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting to deliver a keynote address to hundreds of Ph.D. Economics students (including me) and 19 Nobel Prize winners. For anyone not familiar with Draghi, you might remember the Greek crisis of 2012 when he saved the world only the weight of his words saying they will “…do whatever it takes to preserve the Euro. And believe me, it will be enough.”
In his speech to us on August 23, Draghi offered compelling guidance on how to use our research to inform and change real policies. You can watch and read the whole speech, or look at more critical coverage by by CNBC and The Guardian. My favorite quote was:
“Sudden shocks often make visible the flaws in our policy frameworks and challenge the explanatory power of existing theories in ways that have been previously overlooked. But analysis conducted by researchers and embraced by policymakers remains essential in designing the policy response.”
I spoke with President Draghi during a coffee break following his speech. I had a feeling he might want to meet at least one student. It was a privilege to receive a warm welcome into a conversation with him, The Economist writer Soumaya Keynes, and our hostess Countess Bettinia Bernadotte of Winsborg. We discussed resistance to alternative approaches to policy-making and he encouraged me to press on and realize the benefits from thinking outside the box.
The following day, a kind Nobel Meeting staff member tracked me down me in the lobby and pulled out the newspaper from her purse. She pointed at my picture and said in a mix of German and English, “You are the girl who I helped yesterday to find your lost cell phone. I drank tea this morning at home and found the missing cell phone lady in my newspaper!” I am so grateful for the providence since without misplacing my iPhone* I would never have known this newspaper article existed.
*No iPhones were permanently lost or damaged in the making of these events