Prof. Dr. Peter Eigen has worked in economic development and governance for several decades and has led initiatives for better global governance and the fight against corruption.
A lawyer by training, Eigen has worked as a World Bank manager of programs in Africa and Latin America; from 1983-88 he was Programs Division Chief for Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay. Thereafter, he was the Director of the Regional Mission for Eastern Africa of the World Bank. Under Ford Foundation sponsorship, he provided legal and technical assistance to the governments of Botswana and Namibia to strengthen the legal framework for mining investments.
In 1993 Eigen founded Transparency International (TI), a civil society organization promoting transparency and accountability in international development. From 1993 to 2005 he was Chair of TI and until 2019 the Chair of its Advisory Council. During this period, he founded the Partnership for Transparency Fund and the International Civil Society Center, Berlin. From 2005-11, Eigen was the founding chairman of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Until 2020 he chaired as co-founder of the Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform its Fisheries Transparency Initiative.
Eigen has taught law and political science at the universities of Frankfurt/M, Harvard, SAIS/ Johns Hopkins, University of Washington and Bruges College of Europe. Since 2002, he is Honorary Professor of Political Science at the Freie Universität, Berlin. In 2000, he was awarded the Honorary Doctor’s degree at the Open University, UK, in 2004, the Readers Digest Award "European of the Year 2004", in 2007 the Gustav Heinemann Award, in 2017 the Inamory Award, and in 2019 the Deutsche Kulturpreis. Germany awarded Peter Eigen its Grand Cross of Merit in recognition of his efforts to combat corruption at the global level in January 2013.
2007-12 Eigen served on the Board of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) in Washington. 2009-12 he was the vice-chairman of the Management Board of the African Legal Support Facility. 2007-17 he served as a member of Kofi Annan’ Africa Progress Panel and is now the Co-Chair of its successor organization Africa Progress Group led by former President Obasanjo, Nigeria.