ISIM Mourns Affiliate Dr. Luca Barbone


Dr. Luca Barbone was an internationally renowned economist who joined the World Bank in 1988 for a career that lasted 23 years.  He initially led economic teams in Ecuador and Argentina and became Lead Economist for Poland in the early 1990’s, supporting the most successful transition to a market economy in the region.  In 1996, Luca became manager of the Macroeconomics Unit for Central Africa.  A high point in his World Bank career was his appointment as Director for Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus, which took Luca and his family to Kiev in 2000.  When he retired from the Bank in 2011, Luca was Director of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit of the Europe and Central Asia Region.

Starting at a very young age, Luca displayed a passion for life through his travels, his studies, and his political engagement.  That engagement led him to study economics at Bocconi University in Milan.  Luca was among the first of his group of friends to pursue his quest beyond his native horizons.  He obtained a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985.  While working towards his Ph.D., Luca was the adviser to the Italian Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund and later a macroeconomist for the Planning Institute of Jamaica in Kingston.  Luca had also earlier worked at the Bank of Italy in Rome and, before returning to Washington to join the World Bank, at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, France.

After retiring from the World Bank in 2011, Luca became President of the Warsaw-based Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE), a leading think tank in Central Europe, a position he held for two years.  At the time of his death, he was a senior fellow at ISIM, CASE, and an adjunct professor at the School of International Service at American University.  Luca made a profound and lasting contribution to the understanding of many important economic and social issues. While his brilliance inspired admiration and awe, he was also known for his warmth and collegiality. Many remember Luca as a mentor whose unbounded generosity brought out the best in people by focusing on their strengths and providing them with support and encouragement.

A memorial service in his honor will be held on September 26, 2015 at 11 am at AMP by Strathmore, 11810 Grand Park Avenue, North Bethesda, MD 20852.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad or the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington.