European Studies Welcomes Mark Sobel to Campus

On Tuesday, April 4, 2023, European Studies welcomed Mark Sobel, Senior Advisor at the Central for Strategic and International Studies, to campus to discuss the future of the U.S dollar and the international monetary system. He shared his wealth of experience and knowledge after serving at the U.S Department of Treasury for almost four decades and then the International Monetary Fund. European Studies Director and Jean Monnet Chair Mark Copelovitch and Professor Menzie Chinn offered their reactions to Sobel’s presentation and joined for a Question & Answer session with the audience. The lecture was recorded and is available to the public to view.

Co-sponsored by the Center for European Studies and the La Follette School of Public Affairs.

Why is the dollar the world’s leading international currency? To what extent are the Euro and Renminbi potential challengers to the dollar? Have the sanctions placed on Russia by the US and its allies reinforced or threatened the dollar’s dominance in global finance? What are the greatest threats to dollar hegemony in the years ahead? Should the Federal Reserve take international developments into account when formulating monetary policy? Drawing on his decades of experience as a senior official at the US Treasury, G7, G20, and International Monetary Fund, Mark Sobel discusses these crucial issues about global finance and the international monetary system. Mark Copelovitch, Director of European Studies, and Menzie Chinn, Professor of Public Affairs and Economics, serve as discussants.

Mark Sobel is Senior Adviser (Non-resident), Economics Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He served at the U.S. Department of the Treasury for nearly four decades, including as deputy assistant secretary for international monetary and financial policy from 2000 to early 2015. From 2015 through early 2018, he was U.S. representative at the IMF. He now serves as U.S. chairman at the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF). At Treasury, he led the Department’s work in preparing G7 and G20 finance minister and central bank governor meetings, formulating U.S. positions in the IMF, and coordinating the work of Treasury and regulatory agencies in the Financial Stability Board (FSB). He was also chief U.S. financial negotiator in the G20 from 2008-2015, including for the 2009 London Economic Summit. Sobel founded the U.S./EU Financial Market Regulatory Dialogue and chaired an international group of private and official sovereign debt experts that developed enhanced collective action clauses. He managed the $100 billion-plus Treasury Exchange Stabilization Fund and played a key role on U.S. foreign exchange policy as well as helped coordinate Treasury’s semi-annual Foreign Exchange Report. During transitions and other periods, Sobel often represented the United States as the G7/20 finance deputy, G7 finance sous-sherpa, and Treasury FSB representative. He testified before Congress on Chinese exchange rate issues, global financial market regulation, and the IMF’s role in the European crisis. In the three years following this role at Treasury, Sobel served as U.S. representative in the IMF Board, articulating U.S. positions on topics ranging from IMF financing issues such as quotas and backup resource lines and the Fund’s balance sheets to general policy issues such as the renminbi’s entry in the special drawing right (SDR) basket. Earlier in his career, he headed Treasury’s International Monetary Policy Office and served in the U.S. office in the IMF during the Asian Crisis.