History of HGEI

The Harvard Global Equity Initiative (HGEI), formerly the Global Equity Initiative (GEI), was founded in 2001 by Lincoln Chen in collaboration with Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and Sudhir Anand. Lincoln Chen served as the founding Director of GEI until 2006 and was succeeded by Tony Saich between 2006 and 2008. In July 2009, Felicia Knaul was appointed Director of HGEI and the Initiative was based at the FXB Building in Longwood. Dr. Knaul stepped down as director in August 2015 and the Initiative’s main project, the Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief, was moved to the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Over the course of its history, the Initiative undertook projects ranging in topic from human resources for health, human security and Darfur to global philanthropy, NGO management, human development and capabilities, health systems strengthening, global cancer and palliative care. Among its many activities across these areas, the Initiative sponsored the Kolkata Group Workshops in conjunction with the Pratichi Trust, served as the research base for the UN-endorsed Commission on Human Security and the China-India Comparative Development Program, hosted the NGO Executive Forum and the Harvard China-India Health Comparisons Workshop, previously housed the Human Development and Capability Association and supported the launch of the Joint Learning Initiative on Human Resources for Health and the Joint Learning Initiative on Children and AIDS. HGEI housed the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control (GTF.CCC).