Emiliana Vegas

Co-Director, Center for Universal Education, Brookings Institution

Emiliana Vegas joined Brookings as Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Center for Universal Education in August 2019. A leading expert on education in developing countries, Dr. Vegas has written extensively on issues affecting education systems in Latin America and the Caribbean and other developing regions. Her papers and books cover topics ranging from policies to raise teacher effectiveness, to school finance and early childhood development policies.

Between September 2012 and July 2019, Dr. Vegas served as the Chief of the Education Division at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), where she led a team of 30-50 professionals working in the Bank’s lending operations and analytical activities to support education systems throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. In this role, she led a shift in the composition of the Bank’s lending operations to focus on system-wide change to promote learning and skills to ensure that all children and youth can reach their full potential, ensured Bank funding to create SUMMA, the first regional Laboratory for Research and Innovation in Education in Latin America and the Caribbean, oversaw the development of an online program to train education leaders and influencers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and oversaw the development of instruments to help Ministries of Education leverage technology to transform how they manage their education data for system improvement.

Dr. Vegas worked at The World Bank in Washington, DC from September 2001 to August 2012, where she held various positions in the Human Development Network, her latest being Lead Economist and Human Development Sector Leader for Central America, and Lead Economist in the Education Unit of the Human Development Department. She has managed lending operations and applied research on regional and global education policy issues and is the author of several articles in peer-reviewed journals and institutional reports. Her books include: Profession: Teacher. Why the teaching profession lost its prestige in Latin America and the Caribbean, and how to recover it? (2018, The Inter-American Development Bank, co-authored with Gregory Elacqua, Diana Hincapié and Mariana Alfonso - available in Spanish and Portuguese); The Promise of Early Childhood Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (2010, The World Bank Press, co-authored with Lucrecia Santibáñez), Raising Student Learning in Latin America: The Challenge for the 21st Century (2007, The World Bank Press, co-authored with Jenny Petrow) and Incentives to Improve Teaching: Lessons from Latin America (2005, The World Bank Press, Editor).

Dr. Vegas has a Doctor of Education degree from Harvard University with a concentration in economics of education, a Master of Public Policy degree from Duke University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications with a concentration in journalism from Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas, Venezuela.

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