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Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Can We Empower The Powerless Through Economic Development?

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Session Description

Today there is a well-established development ‘industry’ spanning NGOs, state actors, academics, and – increasingly – corporations. Each has their own models of how to help the ‘bottom billion’ escape crushing poverty and these models are increasingly competing for political support, media attention, and donor money. This session will explore the obstacles to economic development from the perspective of empowerment, and will also offer real examples of projects that have created lasting impact. Which models really work and why?


When | Where

14:00 - 15:30 Thursday, March 26

Session leaders

  • Director, Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme, University of Oxford
    Barbara Harriss-White Professor of Development Studies and Director of the new Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme, former Director of Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University. Educated at Cambridge University and UEA, she drove to India in 1969 and has worked on S.Asia since, exploring through fieldwork two themes: 1.India’s capitalist transformation, focussing on agriculture and the informal economy; 2.aspects of deprivation. Her recent books: Trade Liberalisation and India’s Informal Economy; Defining Poverty in Developing Countries; Rural Commercial Capital; India’s Semi-arid Rural Economy. She is also adviser to DFID, 7 UN agencies and several NGOs. Trustee of IFPRI, SOAS and the S. Asia Institute, Heidelberg.
  • Bindu Ananth Speaker
    President, IFMR Trust
    Bindu Ananth is President of IFMR Trust, a private trust whose mission is to ensure that every individual and every enterprise has complete access to financial services. Ms. Ananth is a graduate of Economics, holds a Masters degree in Public Administration and International Development, has done coursework in graduate level microeconomics, macroeconomics, finance and development theory, and is Recipient of Harvard University Graduate Scholarship and World Bank Graduate Scholarship, and Harvard University Award for Outstanding Commitment to International Development. Her latest publication, co-authored with Dr. Nachiket Mor, is ‘Design Principles for Financial Inclusion, Economic and Political Weekly’. Ms. Ananth has held varied leadership positions in ICICI Bank. She is the founder of Centre for Microfinance in IFMR.
  • Sabina Alkire Speaker
    Director, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative
    Sabina Alkire directs the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), a research centre within the Department of International Development, University of Oxford. In addition, she is a Research Associate at Harvard and the Secretary of the Human Development & Capability Association (HDCA). Her research interests include multidimensional poverty measurement and analysis, welfare economics, the capability approach, the measurement of freedoms, and human development. Publications include ‘Valuing Freedoms: Sen’s Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction’, as well as articles in Philosophy and Economics. She holds a DPhil in Economics and an Msc in Economics for Development.
  • Stan Thekaekara Speaker
    Director, Just Change, India
    Stan Thekaekara is Founder Director of Just Change, a radical trade model linking producers, consumers and investors in a mutually beneficial, equitable cooperative. Since the early 70’s Stan has worked for indigenous people’s rights, community development and social Entrepreneurship. Known for his radical and innovative thinking on development economics, he is frequently invited to lecture at national and international events. He is on the Board of several charities, ranging from grassroots organisations like ACCORD, which he cofounded to work for the rights of the indigenous people in South India, to international charities like Oxfam GB. See:;