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Joseph Wood was educated at Yale, the University of Munich, and Oxford before joining the World Bank in 1968. Wood would eventually serve as the Bank's Regional Vice President for South Asia (SAR) between 1991 and 1997. However, before gaining this position, he held a variety of other roles in the Bank, including: Economist in the East African Department (EAFEA), September 1968 to May 1971; Economist in the East Africa Field Office (EPMEA), May 1971 to January 1972; Economist in the Development Finance Companies Director's Office (DFCDR), February 1972 to January 1974; Division Chief in the Programming and Budget Department Financial Analysis Division (PABFA), April 1974 to March 1976; Assistant Director in Programming and Budget Department Office of the Director (PABDR), June 1976 to March 1979; Director Financial Policy and Analysis Department (FPADR), August 1980 to May 1983; Vice President Financial Policy, Planning, and Budgeting Vice Presidency (FPBVP), September 1983 to May 1987; and Vice President ofthe Financial Policy and Risk Management Vice Presidency (FPRVP), July 1987 to May 1991.
Wood became the Regional Vice President of the South Asia Region (SASVP) in December 1991 and held the position until February 1997. Wood then served briefly as the Senior Adviser to the Office of the President Development Effectiveness Unit (EXCDE) and Senior Adviser to Development Effectiveness Unit (DEU) before retiring from the World Bank in 1998. Subsequently, he was retained as a consultant for the Managing Director Operations Quality Assurance Group (MDOQA) in 1999, and the Quality Assurance Group (QAG) in 2000.