The 2014 edition of the Human Development Report was released yesterday. The latest report focuses on promoting people’s choices and protecting human development achievements.
LinkedIn’s Economic Confidence Outlook predicts scattered optimism for the future of the global economy. The survey, conducted in the first quarter of 2014, of more than 14,000 senior business leaders on LinkedIn in 16 different countries around the world is designed to gauge leaders’ confidence level in the global economy and their country.
Supporting Women Survivors of Violence in Africa's Great Lakes Region
“We felt like human beings again” asserts a survivor of sexual violence at the Panzi Hospital in Eastern DRC. Survivors arrive here with serious physical injuries and deep psychological scars. Some are accompanied by children who are painful reminders of the rape and trauma they suffered. They face numerous hurdles to putting their lives back together—stigma, isolation, and hopelessness. While many organizations provide support, only a few are able to offer the full range of services required—medical care, mental health support, legal aid and economic activities.
I get contacted from time to time by 'new' philanthropists looking to do something positive and productive with their wealth. Usually this is someone who has made a lot of money in the technology industry and who is now starting her or his own family foundation.
Chronologically speaking, many of these people are closer to what one would consider the age at which someone starts a career than the age at which one 'retires'. In other words: They are often rather young.
Based on my (admittedly limited) experience, many of these sorts of folks are often firm believers in the value of education (even if they themselves dropped out of formal schooling early to focus on writing code), in the transformative potential of technology (something which has profoundly and positively impacted their lives personally, offering them opportunities and riches they could never have dreamed of) and in the desire to do something globally (the person may be an immigrant her/himself, be married to an immigrant, have worked with lots of people from different countries or cultures, and/or just have done a lot of international travel).
Last year, for example, I was contacted by someone (writing on behalf of someone else) who wished to (I am slightly paraphrasing here) "explore innovative ways that technology can be harnessed to help overcome longstanding challenges in education around the world". (As for how such folks find me, they usually say: I stumbled across the EduTech blog.)
Given that I have been approached a number of times in a similar sort of way quite recently, and that I serve on a number of externally advisory boards where this sort of thing is discussed, I thought I'd share this scenario here, as well as little bit about some of the things I sometimes say in response, in case it might be of interest to anyone else:
Let's say I had the equivalent of a few million U.S. dollars
available to do something innovative at the intersection of
education and technology somewhere in the 'developing world'.
If it works out, a lot more money could potentially be used
to support activities further, and more systematically,
over a longer period of time.
If it doesn't work out -- well, that would not be great, of course,
but I am willing to take some risks.
I want to be innovative,
and would really like to do something
that no one else is doing.
What should my new foundation do, and how should we do it?
I must confess that, whenever I am asked these sorts of questions, I find it to be a rather exciting, and perhaps even a little terrifying, scenario. (Often times such adjectives are not mutually exclusive!)When presented with a blank canvas of this sort, where and how does one start to paint?
The U.S. dollar extended gains, rising to a fresh 8-month high against the euro on Friday as durable goods orders rose more-than-expected and a gauge of German business confidence fell more than economists’ forecast hurt by geo-political tensions. The dollar rose 0.2% to $1.3433 per euro after advancing to $1.3428 the strongest since November 21.
Last Friday, July 11, was Nelson Mandela Day, a day to recognize and remember his legacy to the cause of social justice – including the fight against extreme poverty. Mandela has inspired countless people with his ideas and actions.
The moment of personal inspiration came when I read a friend’s blog post several years ago in which he described a visit to Mandela’s prison cell, where he spent more than 20 years – a small cramped space that couldn’t constrain his larger vision. In Long Walk to Freedom, an autobiography he began writing in prison, Mandela said, “It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” I found these words compelling, as they challenge each of us to examine our own life and direction.
In a very visceral way, Mandela understood the concept of inequality. He established the “Train of Hope,” which made its first journey to deliver health care to underserved rural populations in 1994, the same year that he was elected as South Africa’s president. He also believed in the promise of education. In 2001, at the opening ceremony of a secondary school, he stated, “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mineworker can become the head of a mine…”
Mandela is for my generation what Gandhi was for my parents: A legend in his own time.
Did you have a favorite teacher at school? What made that teacher so special? Teachers are the single most important resource we have to ensure that children learn. But the reality is that many kids across the world don’t get a good quality education.
Economists speak a secret language. Markets, management, supply, costs, returns, rents – words I think I know, until I see them on a PowerPoint slide with a graph and an equation that starts with a sigma. Suddenly, it becomes clear these markets aren’t only the ones where I buy my peaches and rent is something more than a monthly check.
This past week I attended the bi-annual conference for the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade. The hottest topics in fisheries economics were presented – the global state and outlook of aquaculture, capture fishery models, artisanal fishing, governance, rights based management, individual transferrable quotas, the impact of climate change, and dozens of others. Mostly comprising academics, the talks were technical, pithy, and representative of latest. An honest opportunity for discourse amongst equals to share and vet their work on ocean economies.
As a non-economist, I was in the minority here (though not a complete outsider – ecologists, trade experts, and fishermen were also in the mix). In spite of this lack of ‘expertise’ it is clear that the issue of ocean health is an economic one. We lose billions of dollars every year from mismanaging our fisheries and degrading ocean habitats. That money comes out of everyone’s our pockets. From small-scale fishers to large industry fleets to average consumers, we all pay the price. Economics can indeed play a large role in solving our ocean health problems, how challenging it is to get economists to agree on these solutions is another matter…