Harvard ‘Evaluating’ Relationship with Jamil Mahuad, Former Ecuadorian President

Mahuad, an instructor in Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education program, landed on Interpol's 'wanted' list this week.


Screenshot via INTERPOL

Harvard University is reevaluating its relationship with former Ecuadorian President Jamil Mahuad after Interpol, the world’s largest policing agency, added him to the organization’s “wanted” list this week.

Mahuad, who is wanted by authorities in his home country of Ecuador for allegedly misappropriating funds during his time in office in the late 1990s, has instructed several of Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education programs. He most recently appeared at the university earlier this month, according to school officials. “We are currently evaluating our options in regards to his role in future programs,” said Doug Gavel, a Harvard Kennedy School spokesperson.

Gavel said Mahuad is not a full-time lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School, and has only served in a program in which professionals come to the school’s campus for short term, non-credit courses and share their expertise. According to the Kennedy School’s website, there are more than 30 programs offered—most lasting 10 days or less—that address “critical subjects from crisis leadership and decision making to economic development and national security” within that specific curriculum.

Gavel clarified that Mahuad, who stands accused of being partly responsible for the financial crisis in Ecuador in 1999, as well as the collapse of several large banking institutions, was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics in the fall of 2000, but has never held a faculty appointment at the Kennedy School. During his fellowship, Mahuad led an IOP study group titled “Conflict, Crisis, and Leadership in Latin America,” according to a Crimson report from that year.

Mahuad, who graduated from the Kennedy School with a Master in Public Administration in 1989, is wanted by Ecuadorian judicial authorities for persecution on charges of peculating— or embezzling—public funds, and using them for private use, according to the post on Interpol’s website.

Ecuador’s Interior Minister Jose Serrano said in a tweet on Tuesday that Interpol issued the “red notice” about the international warrant for Mahuad’s apprehension after authorities conducted “painstaking work,” compiling information that led to this action. A red alert is the highest notification on Interpol’s website.

According to the Ecuador Times, Mahuad has been living in the United States since 2000. Authorities have called for the former political leader’s extradition, and said if Mahuad surrenders, or is apprehended by law enforcement officials, he will be tried in court and could face up to 12 years behind bars.

Not only has Mahuad been criticized for his political leadership, but the former Harvard fellow has also been chastised in online forums for his teaching style. “As [an] international student, I thought at the beginning he was a great economist, but I investigated about how he led…Ecuador to the bankrupt [sic] and chaos,” one alleged student wrote on RateMyProfessor. “Maybe he should take advices or an internship from the current Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.”

Another called him a “bad professor,” and said they were “disappointed” when they learned he was “wanted by Ecuadorian justice officials” for alleged corruption.