Anya Schiffrin

The plight of the economist’s wife

By Anya Schiffrin
March 8, 2012

As a wife, I am always interested in other wives. So I couldn’t resist reading an email that came in this week from Columbia University professor Myrna Weissman calling on Nobel laureates and “intellectual leaders” to write to President Obama and urge him to appoint our Columbia colleague Jeffrey Sachs to the position of president of the World Bank.

Excitement and democracy come to Burma

By Anya Schiffrin
February 23, 2012

After the heady days of the Arab Spring last year, it is now Burma’s excitement that’s in the news. Aung San Suu Kyi is hard at work on the campaign trail, political prisoners are being released, and there is talk of the European Union lifting sanctions and the World Bank returning to this Southeast Asian country, which has been isolated from the West for decades.

The fine art of the Davos snub

By Anya Schiffrin
January 27, 2012

To my great surprise this year, the Davos registration forms arrived with a space for Davos Wives to fill in our institutional affiliation. Having written last year about the humiliations of the blank badge, I’ve decided to take full credit for this major step forward for womankind: the recognition that we have lives outside our existence as the Wives of Davos men. My editor Chrystia Freeland is now waiting for a change in policy that would allow Davos mistresses to also list their affiliations.

Davos Man behaving badly

By Anya Schiffrin
January 25, 2012

It’s a well-known fact that men behave badly at Davos. The alcohol, the chance to rub elbows with and even talk to other VIPs, the excess amounts of testosterone, and in some cases the joy of a limo ride from Zurich Airport all give rise to a competitive atmosphere in the hothouse known as the World Economic Forum.

How to navigate the Davos maze: Ask a wife

By Anya Schiffrin
January 24, 2012

I am starting to think that the average lily-livered man may not be able to face the vicissitudes of life at Davos and that we women are much better suited for the event’s rampant paranoia, ego smashing and petty humiliations.

Confessions of a Davos spouse

By Anya Schiffrin
January 17, 2012

What is the pre-Davos season like in your household?

Planning for Davos starts quite early in the year. Months before it actually begins there is the inevitable jockeying for spots on desirable panels with important people, a frantic glance every day at the e-mail to see if any interesting dinner invitations have come in, and a hunt for a hotel room in a location not too far from the conference venue. Wives like me don’t have to do any work at Davos so I just think about packing. Moisturizer is crucial, since the mountain air is so dry, and I will try to rustle up a couple of respectable outfits that I can wear by day and at the evening dinners as well. Then there is footwear. You can carbon date Davos Wives by their shoes. Newcomers tend to wear attractively dainty heels. Veterans like me have given up. I don sturdy shoes and try not to slip on the ice.

The joys of Chinglish

By Anya Schiffrin
October 24, 2011

We roared with laughter yesterday at David Henry Hwang’s latest play Chinglish which is in previews at the Longacre Theatre after a successful run in Chicago. Anyone who has been to meetings in China, done any business there or met a government official will recognize the hilarity of the miscommunication that results from two countries divided not just by culture but by language. The folly of poor translation has not been rendered so incisively since the famous scene in “Lost in Translation” in which the extensive instructions given by the Japanese director of a whiskey commercial that Bill Murray is acting in is reduced to just a few words.

Another day, another protest?

By Anya Schiffrin
October 3, 2011

By Anya Schiffrin
The opinions expressed are her own.

Things have come to a pretty pass when the right to assembly is respected more in Egypt and Spain than it is in the US of A. I am of course referring to last week’s  pepper spraying of a group of women who were enclosed in a police pen and the Saturday arrest of 700 people who strayed into traffic as police ushered them on to the Brooklyn Bridge. The police responded by saying they had warned the protestors away from traffic lanes.

Traveling with parents

By Anya Schiffrin
September 26, 2011

By Anya Schiffrin
The opinions expressed are her own.


I love my parents. I love traveling in India. I am dreading taking my parents to India in November. It turns out that everyone who has traveled with her parents has a horror story. Financial Times US editor Gillian Tett’s parents came to rescue her once from the Sindhi desert when she was 17 and then later in Tajikistan when she was doing her field work. Of course she refused to budge. The intrepid anthropologist-turned-journalist gave me some mysterious advice. “Bring lots of ziploc bags and a clean knife.”

Arab spring turns to gloomy summer

By Anya Schiffrin
August 4, 2011

By Anya Schiffrin
The views expressed are her own.

The mood at dinner in Alexandria last week was so gloomy that the only time anyone cracked a smile was when I told them about Donald Trump being roasted at the White House Correspondents’ dinner in April. Everyone vowed to get on YouTube straight away to see the look of agony that crossed the visage of the legendary stubby- fingered vulgarian as he was mocked for his hideous taste in architecture.