Penn President Amy Gutmann and Penn Experts to Discuss the Economic Crisis and Its Aftermath at University-Wide Forum

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Media Contact:Ron Ozio | | 215-898-8658
Media Contact:Julie S. McWilliams | | 215-898-1422February 9, 2009

PHILADELPHIA –- University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann and a panel of Penn faculty will explore the causes of the economic and financial crisis, as well as its short- and long-term impacts on the world, at the inaugural David and Lyn Silfen University Forum. “After the Fall: A World Transformed?” will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 17 at the Zellerbach Theater in Penn’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St.

“The current economic and financial crisis, the most severe since the Great Depression,” Gutmann said, “will not be wasted at Penn. Integrating knowledge across disciplines is an essential mission of higher education in the 21st century, and this crisis represents an extraordinary opportunity for Penn to bring together outstanding faculty from economics, politics, law and finance to share their insights with our entire community regarding the causes and likely consequences of a defining moment in our nation’s history. I am extremely grateful to our Trustee David Silfen and his wife, Lyn, for their generosity in making this and future forums possible.”

At the forum, Penn faculty with expertise in economics, finance, law and political science will discuss the causes of the crisis, its national and global impact and strategies for intervention. Panelists will also explore the possibility of fundamental and permanent changes to the global economy.

"The forum will provide an opportunity for some of the best minds at Penn to address this issue and investigate, evaluate and propose solutions to the unprecedented challenges we now face,” David Silfen said. “Lyn and I are pleased to be able to support Penn and what promises to be an engaging and enlightening forum.”

The Forum participants represent a broad spectrum of relevant expertise:

Harold Cole, professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Cole has also served as professor of economics at the University of California, Los Angeles; senior economist and director of the Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis; consultant to the World Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia; and visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund. A scholar of macroeconomics and international finance, he has researched the Great Depression, incomplete markets and risk sharing, sovereign default and the interaction of social institutions and economic decisions.

Donald F. Kettl, a political scientist and the Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Kettl is a nonresident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution. Among his books are “The Next Government of the United States: Why Our Institutions Fail Us and How to Fix Them,” “System Under Stress: Homeland Security and American Politics” and “The Global Public Management Revolution.” He has twice won the Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration for the best book published in public administration. In 2008, Kettl won the American Political Science’s John Gaus Award for a lifetime of exemplary scholarship in political science and public administration. He has consulted broadly for government organizations at all levels in the United States and abroad, and he is a regular columnist for Governing magazine.

Jennifer Amyx, assistant professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Amyx’s work focuses on the political economy of East Asia, with a particular emphasis on the politics of financial regulation and reform in Japan and on regional financial cooperation initiatives in East Asia since the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis. Her book, “Japan’s Financial Crisis: Institutional Rigidity and Reluctant Change,” was awarded the 2005 Masayoshi Ohita Memorial Prize.

As an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2005-06, Amyx worked in Tokyo on projects commissioned by Japan's Ministry of Finance and by the ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers and also worked in Washington, D.C., in the East Asia Division at the Department of the Treasury. She has also held visiting-scholar positions at institutions in Japan, Australia and the U.S.

Richard Marston, the James R. F. Guy Professor of Finance and Economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
He is director of the George Weiss Center for International Financial Research at Wharton, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a member of several journal editorial boards. Marston has been a visiting professor or scholar at more than a dozen schools abroad, including Essec in France, LBS in London and the Sasin Institute in Thailand. His research interests have recently centered on exchange rate pass-through and exposure, foreign exchange risk management and international asset pricing.

David Skeel, the S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Pennsylvania.

He is the author of “Icarus in the Boardroom” and “Debt’s Dominion: A History of Bankruptcy Law in America.” Skeel has twice received the Harvey Levin award for outstanding teaching, as selected by a vote of the graduating class, as well as the University's Lindback Award for distinguished teaching. In addition to corporate law and bankruptcy, Skeel also writes on sovereign debt; law and religion; and poetry and the law.

Ticket information is available at
Penn alumni in New York City can attend a satellite viewing at the Penn Club. A live webcast will be available at

David Silfen, senior director of The Goldman Sachs Group, has been a Penn trustee since 1998 and is completing his term as chair of the Trustee Development Committee. He serves on the Trustee Executive Committee, the Budget and Finance Committee, the Nominating Committee and the Investment Committee. He is also an overseer of the School of Arts and Sciences.

David and Lyn Silfen are the parents of Penn alumni Jane Silfen and Adam Silfen. Longtime supporters of undergraduate education, they previously funded two Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professorships, the Silfen Student Study Center, a term professorship and the David and Lyn Silfen Fund in the School of Arts and Sciences, to support the Pilot Curriculum.