Microfinance in Academia – The Center's Faculty Council Reports on Their Activities

> Posted by Charlotte Connors
The Center for Financial Inclusion’s Faculty and Advisory Councils met last week in Washington, DC for an inspiring bi-annual meeting on our progress towards financial inclusion and our 2009 initiatives. Members of the Faculty Council represent some of the most prestigious business and law schools around the country, and last week’s meeting provided us with a inside look at what they are doing and how it relates to the microfinance industry.
Here’s what’s going on at the crossroads of business and law schools and microfinance:

Professor Todd Watkins (back row, third from right) and students with microfinance clients in Peru. Todd Watkins and his students are working on a microfinance textbook.

Professor Todd Watkins (back row, fourth from right) and students with microfinance clients in Peru. Todd Watkins and his students are working on a microfinance textbook.

  • Don Terry, remittance expert, joined the Faculty Council representing Boston University Law School.  As an initial project lead by ACCION staff attorney Virginia Valdez, Mr. Terry, Faculty Council member George Priest from Yale Law School, and ACCION staff member Kevin Saunders are considering developing a microfinance course for law students that would cover the legal framework and regulatory systems within the microfinance industry.
  • Todd Watkins, from the Economics Department at Lehigh University, has engaged his students in a 2-year project to write a microfinance textbook to be used for undergraduate study.   They plan to edit the book during the summer of 2009 and eventually make it available online.
  • Keith Weigelt and his students at the Wharton School of Business are also helping the CFI to develop its Consumer Protection Library for the Campaign for Client Protection in Microfinance – they have already contributed to five country profiles.
  • Sean Foote, who represents the Haas School of Business at Berkeley, is writing a microfinance textbook that will enable professors to teach the basics of microfinance.
  • Faculty Council member Andrew Bernard will be supervising five Paganucci Fellows at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth who were selected to work on CFI’s Financial Inclusion 2020 initiative during the summer of 2009.

The CFI Faculty Council aims to embed the study of microfinance and financial inclusion in the curriculum of professional schools so that all students have some exposure to the field. The Council also seeks to inspire the next generation of business leaders to choose careers in service to the base of the pyramid, and encourage students and faculty to participate in research that can lead to breakthroughs in the field.
For more information, sign up for updates from the Financial Inclusion 2020 campaign.
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