GPPI Students Bring Together International Development Policy Leaders for 2012 Conference

March 9, 2012 -- The 2012 Georgetown Public Policy Institute (GPPI) student conference, Business and Global Development: Changing Players, Problems, and Policies, addressed issues facing international development, U.S. policymaking in the developing world, and the transformation of business and development worldwide.

The annual conference, held on February 24th at the Cannon House Office Building, brought together academics, policymakers, and public policy students to Capitol Hill to discuss pressing and complex social issues of conducting business in the developing world.

Elizabeth Littlefield, President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), delivered the keynote address in which she praised the convergence of business and development priorities, noting that businesses are beginning to realizing the positive relationship between their bottom lines and making a positive impact. OPIC is aiding this process by incentivizing investment and mitigating the risk in the developing world.

"The less developed the country the more opportunities there are for business, " said Littlefield.

The first panel, Promoting Businesses for Development: Innovations in U.S. Policy, was led by Holy Wise, an adjunct professor with the School of Foreign Service (SFS) and featured Dr. George Ingram, Chair Emeritus and Senior Advisor with the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, Mildred Callear, Executive Vice President of the Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF), Molly Kinder, Special Programs for Development Innovation Ventures at USAID, and Andrew Natsios, Professor with the Georgetown University SFS. Panelists focused on U.S. policy best practices for promoting business for development, noting that while microeconomic initiatives have shown more promise, large-scale assistance is still necessary.

The conference’s second panel, New Actors in Global Economic Development, was moderated by Dr. Ann Van Dusen, Director of the SFS Master’s Program in Global Human Development. Geoffrey Lamb, Managing Director for Public Policy with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dan Runde, Director with the Project on Prosperity and Development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, V.S. Senthil, Minister of Economic Affairs at the Embassy of India and Carol Peasley, President and CEO of the Centre for Development and Population Activities rounded out the diverse panel.

The panel discussed the variety of economic factors that have spurred development in countries around the world, in particular, the role of India, China and Brazil and other emerging markets in shaping the conversation around foreign direct investment and aid flows.

“It's an increasingly exciting world for new actors. It's an opportunity for more effective aid,” Carol Peasley noted.

The final panel, led by Bill Novelli of the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, featured Sara Farley, Co-Founder and COO of the Global Knowledge Initiative, Dr. Justin van Fleet, Post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Universal Education, and Janeen Uzzell, Director of "HEALTHYMAGINATION Africa" with General Electric Healthcare. The topic, Cutting Edge Solutions for Development on the Ground, examined innovative and unique development approaches in the fields of health, education, and technology.

As foreign investment and domestic entrepreneurship flourish in the developing world, new foreign investors are advancing international development and improved technologies are evolving to meet the unique challenges of the Information Age. At the same time, innovative and dynamic approaches to U.S. policymaking are creating new opportunities in the developing world. By uniting these topics at the GPPI Conference, students generated a purposeful discussion on the inevitable transformation of business and development worldwide.