Visiting Professor of International and Public Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University.
Before joining Columbia University, Karlsson was the Director of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, and previously served as World Bank Vice President of External Affairs and United Nations Affairs, and as World Bank Country Director for Maghreb (region West and North Africa).
In his most recent post Karlsson was the Director of the Marseille Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) where he was responsible for coordinating the World Bank’s cooperation of the Mediterranean region.
As country director at the World Bank he was instrumental in the realization of modern coordinated partnership, from supporting Ghana’s development, growth and poverty reduction, to post-conflict reconstruction in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
As World Bank Vice President of External Affairs, Karlsson pursued strategic policy dialogue with the Bank’s partners and stakeholders. With the UN he worked on the Millennium Development Goals and he also led the World Bank’s engagement with civil society in debating globalization, as part of new UN cooperation.
Early in his career, Mats Karlsson worked at the Swedish Foreign Ministry as Chief Economist, he served as Foreign Policy Advisor to Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson’s Commission on Global Governance (1992-1994), as well as the Swedish State Secretary for international development cooperation (1994-1999). He began his career in development when he joined the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) in 1983.