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Remembering Brad Billings

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Georgetown Professor Emeritus George J. Viksnins, better known as Uncle George, recently reflected on the passing of his colleague and friend Bradley B. Billings. Billings taught for TFAS in the Institute of Political Journalism and the American Institute on Political and Economic Systems in Prague.

“My good friend and valued colleague Brad Billings passed away on Sunday, January 24, 2010 at his home in Alexandria, Va, surrounded by members of his immediate family.

Brad did his undergraduate work at Boston College and received his Ph.D. from Cornell. He joined Georgetown in 1971 and retired in the fall of 2000. His specialty was international trade and he was a highly regarded teacher.

Brad joined the The School of Foreign Service (SFS) faculty in 1985 and served as the director of the Pew Economic Freedom Fellows Program (PEFFP) until 1994. The PEFFP was a ten-year program, financed by the Pew Charitable Trusts, with the cooperation of the SFS and the economics department. It was designed to train promising leaders from the countries in transition in western economics, quantitative methods, and public administration. A number of its graduates have gone on to do important work, including the current President of Lithuania.

Brad did some development economics consulting work with the late Prof. Selma Mushkin, spending some time in Ethiopea. He was also involved in launching the Institute of Political Journalism, a summer program at Georgetown, sponsored by the Fund for American Studies, which brought him to Prague for a launching of its initial overseas program.

He and I collaborated on a path-breaking article in the last issue of the Western Economic Journal, immediately thereafter renamed Economic Inquiry.

Although he was a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan, we remained good friends until the end. He had many difficult medical problems, including several heart procedures, a long period of dialysis, and finally, a broken hip and an operation on it. His three children all attended Georgetown and one of his sons is following his footsteps as an academic economist.”

 

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