Monthly Archives: October 2016

Recap & Response: Inclusive Finance and Entrepreneurial Responses

On September 23, 2016, CAPP-USA and Fordham University co-sponsored a conference called “Pope Francis’ Call for Escaping Poverty: Practical Examples and New Proposals.” The conference examined the definition and measurement of poverty and proposed specific, practical efforts which operationalize Pope Francis’ insistence that people “be dignified agents of their own destiny.” What follows is the latest in a series of posts authored by graduate students in Fordham University’s International Political Economy & Development Program that offer a summary and response to a topic discussed at the conference.

Philanthrocapitalism; what is it? The session on “Inclusive Finance and Entrepreneurial Responses” carefully unpacked this idea via three disparate and diverse perspectives. The panel consisted of Robert A. Annibale, Global Director of Citi Community Development and Citi Inclusive Finance, Eduardo J.M. Maia de Alemeida of the Inter-American Development Bank, and Josef Bonnici, former Governor of the Bank of Malta.

Annibale began the session by discussing the role of corporate initiatives that engender financial inclusion. Citi’s programs run the gamut from micro-finance abroad intended to protect those on the fringe from predatory lending practices, to themed bonds with a social conscious. Bonnici followed with a moral imperative towards philanthrocapitalism, citing that “1% of the population holds 25% of the income.” His solution is a Voluntary Solidarity Fund made up of high-net worth individuals. Capital would go towards micro-finance initiatives as well as a dignified approach to lifting those marginalized out of poverty through education and mentoring. Lastly, the call for “goodwill brokers” was heard as Almeida’s discussion on development finance advocated that financing just isn’t enough. Political will and coordination, effective and unbiased interventions as well as execution capacity and innovation are key components necessary for brokering goodwill. Almeida ended his presentation with a bold challenge. He urged the Vatican towards goodwill, asking them to use their $63 million in profit to start a Vatican Bank Development Finance Fund.

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Following the panel a lively discussion ensued. While philanthrocapitalism is a universally accepted precept, how to go about it, is not widely agreed upon. Building upon a culture of philanthropy was a common theme that ran throughout the discussion. Annibale suggested that corporations engage in corporate social responsibility by taking their cues from the ethical leaders of the moment. Almeida touted embracing new technological trends and the rising popularity of crowd funding; a financial tool that is easily accessible by smart phone in many developing countries.

The pervasive question for me was; how can you change philanthropy from a sidebar to a priority when your main obligation is to your shareholders? A common counterpoint was, who would and should accept the financial risk of inclusive development, and how should it be allocated? At which point, there was no discussion of comparative risk tolerance. Most likely because corporations and individuals alike, have a higher risk tolerance for the stock market than for inclusive development. However, it wasn’t the unanswered questions that cultivated the most poignancy in this complex discussion of how to achieve inclusive finance through entrepreneurial responses. It was His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick simple request at the beginning of the discussion, “Don’t forget the poor.” A request not meant to answer the hard questions posed during the panel, but to create a meditative point of reference when tackling them.

Erika Cox is a first-year student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

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2016 United Nations Career Trip

On Friday, October 21, the Fordham IPED Class of 2018 was invited to the United Nations Headquarters in New York for the annual United Nations Career Day.

IPEDers in front of the UN

IPEDers in front of the UN

 

The students began their day at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), where they heard from Dr. Jamison Ervin, the manager of the Global Biodiversity Programme, about the Equator Initiative. Next Verania Chao spoke about mainstreaming gender issues and the UNDP’s effort to ensure that development initiatives are benefiting both men and women for more effective and efficient results. Last, Maria Fare Garcia from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action Initiative spoke about her role in creating awareness of the SDGs and connecting with people the goals are meant to support in an effort to ensure their needs are being considered. Each of these phenomenal women also spoke about their career paths and how they found themselves working for the UNDP.

Some IPEDer listening to the UNDP speakers

Some IPEDer listening to the UNDP speakers

Moses Cam is very New York here, eating a bagel and cream cheese before the UNDP Presentations

Moses Cam is very New York here, eating a bagel and cream cheese before the UNDP Presentations

(from left) Maria Fare Garcia, Jamison Ervin, and Verania Chao answer questions from the IPED students

(from left) Maria Fare Garcia, Jamison Ervin, and Verania Chao answer questions from the IPED students

 

Next, the IPEDers visited the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and met with Yuka Yakamoto. Ms. Yakamoto spoke about the different positions within UNICEF and discussed avenues through which one can find a position with the organization.

Yuka Sakamoto addresses IPED and speaks about ways to get a position with UNICEF

Yuka Sakamoto addresses IPED and speaks about ways to get a position with UNICEF

Ms. Sakamoto accepts a token of appreciation (IPED coffee mug) from IPEDer Crisostomo Ala, who organized the UN Trip

Ms. Sakamoto accepts a token of appreciation (IPED coffee mug) from IPEDer Crisostomo Ala, who organized the UN Trip

 

Following the visit to UNICEF was lunch at the Delegates Dining Hall at the UN.

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Cody Harder, Michael Johnson, and Jessica Way pose at the Delegates Dining Hall

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Edward Barbini and Angeli Diamante enjoying delicious cake for dessert.

 

After the delicious fare, IPED headed off to their last meeting with former IPED graduate Kevin Lynch and Jason Laurence at the United States Mission to the UN. Messrs. Lynch and Laurence told of their journey to their current positions and then answered questions.

The students ended their day touring the UN.

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IPEDers Owen Fitzgerald, Viktoriia Brezheniuk, Crisostomo Ala, and Luther Flagstad outside the United Nations

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Recap & Response: Pope Francis’ Charge to End Poverty

On September 23, 2016, CAPP-USA and Fordham University co-sponsored a conference called “Pope Francis’ Call for Escaping Poverty: Practical Examples and New Proposals.” The conference examined the definition and measurement of poverty and proposed specific, practical efforts which operationalize Pope Francis’ insistence that people “be dignified agents of their own destiny.” What follows is the latest in a series of posts authored by graduate students in Fordham University’s International Political Economy & Development Program that offer a summary and response to a topic discussed at the conference.

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His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick.

At the recent CAPP-USA / Fordham conference, His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick took the time to elaborate on comments made by Pope Francis in his 2015 address to the United Nations about social justice, armed conflict, escaping poverty, and environmental abuse. In his speech, Pope Francis said the following:

“Integral human development and the full exercise of human dignity cannot be imposed. They must be built up and allowed to unfold.”

Cardinal McCarrick opened his discussion of Pope Francis’ quote by telling a story:

At the last papal conclave, when it became apparent that then Cardinal Bergoglio was going to receive the votes necessary to become the next Pope, Cardinal Hummes from Brazil leaned over to Bergoglio and said, “Don’t forget the poor.” This is a charge that Pope Francis has not forgotten nor taken lightly.

With this as a compass, Pope Francis has worked to bring an end to extreme poverty and to do so with the dignity of those involved kept intact. Cardinal McCarrick expanded on Pope Francis’ words, asserting that the poor are “not our lower brothers,” but, instead, are our equals and that we must all recognize the freedom of choice, especially in the realm of religion, an issue that effects the poor more than anyone else. He went on to reiterate the Pope’s call to allow the poor to make their own way in the world and to “offer them the pride that comes with being agents of their own future.” We should look for opportunities to facilitate the poor coming into their own, becoming part of their society, and to simultaneously acknowledge the dignity and rights that are inherent in human beings.

These words are meant to inspire and spur those of us who live in the developed world to look upon our less fortunate brothers as equals in the human family. They urge us to look upon those living in conditions of poverty as whole, complete people and recognize in them their rights to make choices in life. It is demanded that we show respect for those who find themselves in situations that many of us cannot fathom, much less relate to. The Pope and the Cardinal ask us to treat the poor, even when giving them a hand up, with the basic dictates of decency.

These points are striking, and the Pope has created a meaningful discourse in shedding light on them. There is sometimes a belief that a person who needs or takes assistance is of a lesser caliber, and, once perceived as such, is treated accordingly. How many of us know what it takes to humble ourselves in such a way? How often have we had to put aside our pride in order to pursue our vision of a better life? These individuals do not require pity or condescension; their needs cannot be solved with handouts and pittance. We should look on those who are brave enough to ask for help as fellows in a common struggle attacked from different vantage points. We are charged with the task of offering the respect that all individuals deserve so that the less fortunate may cultivate within themselves their rightful dignity.

Robyn Emory is a first-year student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

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IPED Internships: UNICEF: Policy Planning Intern in Data, Research, and Policy Division – Nathan Birhanu

This summer, I had the pleasure of interning at the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) as part of its Data, Research, and Policy Division. UNICEF is centered on advocating on the rights and development of children across the world, which also extends to mothers, fathers, and members of society as a whole. UNICEF works in child survival and development, basic education, gender equality, HIV/AIDS, child protection, policy advocacy, research, and data analysis to name just a few. Although UNICEF’s headquarters are in New York City, a majority of its activities are in the field and extends out to over 190 countries.

Nathan standing in the main lobby of UNICEF.

Nathan standing in the main lobby of UNICEF.

During my time at UNICEF in the Data, Research, and Policy Division, I worked in the Policy Planning Unit (PPU). The PPU is focused on foresight and forward thinking to analyze emerging trends globally that are then incorporated into UNICEF’s global policy and strategic plan. My task in PPU included researching topics and writing briefs to be distributed to UNICEF staff, helping to develop foresight analytical methods by establishing relationships with schools and firms that focus on future trend analysis, and organizing speaker series of prominent thought leaders. An important brief I was able to write that was distributed to the organization was on the future of food, high lighting the important variables that will have the most impact on the world relating to food, climate change, health, and population growth. Other topics covered by the PPU include rapid urbanization, the future of philanthropy, and the role of institutions.

Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF Justin Forsyth (left), Director of UNICEF Anthony Lake (center), and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Management Fatoumata Ndiaye (right) discuss current developments within UNICEF during an all-staff meeting.

Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF Justin Forsyth (left), Director of UNICEF Anthony Lake (center), and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Management Fatoumata Ndiaye (right) discuss current developments within UNICEF during an all-staff meeting.

Much of the work conducted in UNICEF’s Data, Research, and Policy Division and the PPU allowed me to analyze an expansive array of topics pertinent to the coming decades. My work also included accessing the data and publications of UNICEF, along with having the ability to consult with experts across the entire organization. Such experiences allow me to grow and be effective in any work I pursue in the future.

Nathan stands with his supervisor, Officer-in-Charge of Policy Planning Yulia Oleinik,

Nathan stands with his supervisor, Officer-in-Charge of Policy Planning Yulia Oleinik

 

I felt prepared to jump in headfirst into my tasks assigned at UNICEF due to the classwork and fieldwork I was able to complete in International Political Economy and Development (IPED). The work done at PPU also requires diligence and considerable amount of time; I was able to allocate the necessary dedication to my work at UNICEF and the PPU because of the Summer IPED Fellowship I was given by IPED and Fordham University.

IPEDers at the United Nations

IPED alumni are employed in UNICEF, and IPED and the Department of Economics at Fordham have a special relationship with UNICEF. If students are interested in interning there, it is good to apply early on UNICEF’s website. IPED and the Department of Economics regularly send out postings for available positions at UNICEF, and that is a fantastic way to apply for an internship position.

 

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Women’s World Bank Summer Internship – Catalina Jack

Women’s World Banking (WWB) is the global nonprofit devoted to giving more low-income women access to the financial tools and resources they require to build security and prosperity. WWB continues to equip financial institutions from all over the world with in-depth market research, with sustainable financial products and consumer education to meet women’s needs.

At the Women's World Bank Headquarters

At the Women’s World Bank Headquarters

It is crucial to unveil practices in the financial sector and social norms that prevail in society which inhibit women’s access to and use of financial services, even when legislation and regulation do not restrict them. To this end, I have been helping the research team to do an investigation that aims to gain insight into the actual practices of financial and other service providers regarding women’s access to finance. In addition, we are analyzing societal norms regarding women’s participation in the financial sector, and women’s perception of practices that create barriers to financial services. I have been examining the social and cultural norms surrounding women entrepreneurs in countries such as Kenya, India, Philippines, and Brazil.

Vibrant working space

Vibrant working space

Working at WWB is a wonderful experience to put in practice the skills you acquire in the IPED program. It helped me to understand how important it is to learn the methods to collect and analyze data and to know which are the main sources of statistics in academia. As students we tend to underestimate the great advantage of having access to the best databases and the invaluable Fordham library.

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