What inspires you?

Jean-Francois Rischard: Well I think I could speak for all the World Bank employees. It’s a job that is very . . . It grabs you really strongly. And you do get up early in the morning, and you look forward to a day of very interesting work. Because what could be more interesting than to work on some 150 countries, on about 100 sectors, and on global issues from such an outpost as the World Bank, which is owned by 185 countries of the world, and from which you do look at the world as if it was a whole planet – not from the country point of view but from the sort of overall, global point of view? So it’s a very interesting job to be in, and you get to learn a lot of things about a lot of countries and a lot of people. And the cultures of the institution is interesting. It’s one where there are 150 or 160 nationalities in the house and you never think about the nationality of your colleagues. You forget about it, and everyone has the same jargon and code words. And you forget that someone is Italian, or Bangladeshi or Tanzanian. So it is a little bit . . . It has the culture of the world as I would wish it to have. I would wish the world had that sort of culture one day. It’s beyond a nation state and the nationality culture. It’s one level above. And that also makes it very fascinating. And the third thing that had me taking at the World Bank, it’s a very libertarian institution. There was a lot of room for debates on what worked and what didn’t work. There were a lot of arguments – academic arguments or even practical arguments – one way or the other. And you could do many things, and I did in my time. I pioneered many news things and I was never whittled back. And that was part of the reasons why I so liked the institution.  

Recorded on: 7/2/07


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