Montek Singh Ahluwalia is an economist who trained at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He spent several years at the World Bank before returning to India to serve as the Economic Advisor to the Finance Minister. The Government of India then appointed him to several senior positions, including Secretary of Commerce and Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance. In 1998, he was appointed as a Member of the Planning Commission and Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India. In 2001, he became the Director of Independent Evaluation Office at the International Monetary Fund, resigning this position in 2004 to become the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.
He has written widely about India and the world economy, co-authoring Redistribution with Growth: An Approach to Policy, and editing Macroeconomics and Monetary Policy: Issues for Reforming the Global Financial Architecture with Y.V. Reddy and S.S. Tarapore.
The Payne Distinguished Lectureship is named for Frank and Arthur Payne, brothers who gained an appreciation for global problems through their international business operations. This lectureship, hosted by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, brings speakers with an international reputation for leadership and visionary thinking to Stanford to deliver a major public lecture.