Sir William Arthur Lewis / Development done differently

Words by Maree Perkins

Image by Steve McCabe

Founder of development economics, Nobel Prize winner, Britain’s first black professor: Sir William Arthur Lewis did it all – and did it differently.

After joining The University of Manchester in 1948, Lewis explored the social and cultural influences in development. Sitting at the heart of international development theory, Lewis’s work earned him a Nobel Prize in 1979, making him the first black winner in a category other than Peace.

Originally from Saint Lucia, he made his major contributions to economics while at Manchester, teaching many Asian and African students and advising the Colonial Office and the newly independent Ghana.

He also helped establish social and educational centres for the people of Moss Side and Hulme, neighbourhoods close to the University.

His work made a difference to the way we look at international development in terms of economics. His life and his work continue to be celebrated today.

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