By Gehan Abo Elella\r\n\r\nCAIRO, Mar. 23(SEE)- The American University in Cairo (AUC) hosted the annual Nadia Younes Memorial Lecture featuring Dame Minouche Shafik, director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She is the first woman in the school\u2019s history to hold this Shafik shared reflections from her career spanning global finance, developmental economics and academia at the lecture. She shed light on how much of one's success is a result of luck versus effort.\r\n\r\n<img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-42180" src="https:\/\/see.news\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/03\/Dame-Minouche-Nadia-Younis-Family-Ricciardone-1-300x200.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="200" \/>\r\n\r\nThe LSE director discussed factors such as the family a person is born into, one\u2019s country or city of birth, and neighborhood schools and teachers.\r\n\r\nHowever she noted that: \u201cThe answers to these questions vary enormously over time and place, but there are also huge public policy questions; the government is also supposed to give a fair chance to the unlucky people.\u201d\r\n\r\nShafik discussed the social contract that includes webs of obligations and opportunities holding societies together. \u201cBy social contract I mean the rights and obligations of citizenships, the payment of taxes in exchange of public goods, the promise that society gives for social mobility to those who work hard,\u201d she added.\r\n\r\nShe shared valuable personal lessons and stories to demonstrate the value of education in guaranteeing social mobility and the role of luck and effort in advancement.\r\n\r\nhttps:\/\/youtu.be\/lnF2sfeWQsM\r\n\r\nAfter her father incurred losses during the nationalization phase in 1960s, she mentioned how as a family, they all started from scratch in USA.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhen I was growing up he would always say to us they can take everything away from you except your education. And so he placed huge emphasis on us working hard and taking our education very seriously,\u201d She added.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe were immigrants when we went to the US and no doubt my family faced discrimination. But we were also allowed to get on and take advantage of the opportunities that were there,\u201d Shafik said.\r\n\r\n\u201cI strongly believe that talent is spread evenly around the world but opportunity is not. That is why I spent so much of my career in fields like international development and education which are about spreading opportunity to others,\u201d she added.\r\nLSE director explained that she was also able to advance her career in organizations that made decisions on the basis of merit and where connections were not the key to advancement.\r\n\r\n\u201cI've also had some very good bosses who gave me the opportunity to grow. And for me that combination of climbing the ladder of educational quality and meritocratic organizations enabled social mobility.\u201d\r\n\r\nRegarding the theme of luck versus effort, Shafik discussed Egypt\u2019s case, saying \u201ccontrary to popular perception, inequality in Egypt is actually quite low by international standards in part because states in the Middle East have tended to be highly redistributive.\u201d\r\n\r\nShe also said that the introduction of the cash transfer schemes in Egypt recently 'Takaful' and 'Karama' have been hugely important to make sure that between one and a half and two million families, the poorest families in Egypt, have a minimum income that enables them to spend on things like education and more nutritious food.\r\n\r\n\u201cBut while the gap between rich and poor in Egypt has actually shrunk. The middle class has done relatively worse.\u201d She added.\r\n\r\n\u201cIn the last decade, the percentage of downwardly mobile Egyptians has actually exceeded the number of upwardly mobile Egyptians.\u201dShe added, elaborating that in such a framework, luck has become more important than effort in driving success and the prospects of social mobility has actually fallen.\r\n\r\n\u201cAnd I believe that's a huge driver of the observed decline in life satisfaction that we see in many polls in Egypt,\u201d Shafik said.\r\n\r\nOn her second theme of the talk: leadership, she stressed that great leaders inspire, encourage, enable and build great leaders around them.\r\n\r\nShe went on saying: \u201cI definitely don't need to be the smartest person in the room and it's much more fun to have people who are more clever than me on my team and I also want people who are different than me and who think differently than me.\r\n\r\nLSE director concluded by sharing lessons from her life, \u201csuccess in life as a result of a combination of luck and effort. And as I tell my children incessantly, if you got lucky in the lottery of life, you need to do something for those who are unlucky. That can be at an individual level through charity through paying taxes. Social mobility is what gives people especially young people hope.\u201d\r\n\r\nShafik noted that in most societies social mobility has declined in recent decades. \u201cI think much of the current malaise we see in countries like Egypt, in the United States, in the United Kingdom is because of that.\r\n\r\nSpreading opportunity through education, throughout life, fairer job opportunities and more real competition, is probably the biggest social challenge that we face. But addressing it is also vital for our economic success since getting the most out of our talent is the path to greater prosperity.\u201d\r\n\r\nShafik serves as a trustee of the British Museum, the council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the governor of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, and is an honorary fellow of St. Antony\u2019s College Oxford.\r\n\r\nWith an illustrious career in economics, public policy and academia, Shafik has previously served as the vice president of the World Bank, permanent secretary for the Department for International Development, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund.