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Tarred by its role as the chief enforcer of austerity during the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, the International Monetary Fund spent much of the ensuing decade trying to repair relationships with Asian governments. So, Fund officials considered it no small coup when they co-hosted a major conference, dubbed Asia 21, with the South Korean government in July to showcase the region’s economic resurgence and consider the lessons that Asia can offer policymakers in troubled Western economies.

Winging his way back from Daejeon, South Korea, IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn took time to blog about the event and claim a new era in relations between the Fund and Asian governments. “A remarkable event took place that enabled the world to hear the voice of Asia,” he announced in a post on the IMF Web site. “Just as there is a new Asia, there is a new IMF.”

There is indeed a new IMF taking shape under the leadership of the charismatic Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister, and wooing Asia to trust the Fund’s analysis and expertise is just the latest step in his rebuilding of the institution.

[Video Caption: The IMF said Asia is leading the global recovery and global growth is likely beat its forecast of 3 percent this year. "Even though the recovery is stronger than expected, it is also very fragile, especially in advanced economies," Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the IMF told CNBC. Airtime: Wed. Jan. 20 2010 | 4:50 AM ET ]

When Strauss-Kahn arrived in November 2007, the Fund seemed to be fading into irrelevance: Developing countries didn’t need its money, and the big industrial powers routinely ignored its advice. But using his economic instincts and political acumen, the managing director, or “DSK,” as he is known from the way he signs his memos, moved quickly to restore the Fund to its role as a linchpin of international economic policy coordination and crisis management. The 61-year-old Frenchman was one of the first policymakers to call for government stimulus spending to counteract the slump, in January 2008, a stance that would eventually be adopted from Washington to Beijing. He waded fearlessly into the debate over the financial sector’s failings and made the Fund a significant player in regulatory reform of the global financial system. And he lobbied tirelessly for a major increase in IMF resources to deal with the scale of the worldwide economic crisis. His efforts were rewarded at last year’s Group of 20 summits in London and Pittsburgh when leaders of those countries agreed to treble the IMF’s resources, to $750 billion, and mandated the Fund to lead an ambitious economic surveillance program and develop innovative new lending schemes.