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Legatum center conference at MIT
Oct '08
The Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship brought together leading entrepreneurs from Kenya, India and Afghanistan as well as a unique panel of four Nobel Economists Eric Maskin, Lawrence Klein, Robert C. Merton, and Edmund S. Phelps on the topic of 'Progress Through Innovation'. The Nobel Laureates highlighted the key role of entrepreneurship and innovation in advancing progress and development.

Dr. Udaia Kumar participated in a panel along with other leading entrepreneurs from Kenya and Afghanistan to promote entrepreneurship and highlight the key role it plays in advancing a nation's progress. Drawing from his own experience, he also spoke about the challenges and opportunities of entrepreneurs in developing countries. Dr. Kumar is the Founder and Managing Director of SHARE Microfin, one of the foremost microfinance institutions in India.

The conference, hosted by BBC World Presenter Nisha Pallai, also highlighted:
• The critical role of developing countries to world progress by Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Professor and Founder of Evian Group,
• The role of the Boston area for transformative innovation by Ira Jackson, Professor and Dean of the Drucker School of Management, Claremont Graduate University,
• The entrepreneurial ecosystem at MIT by Ed Robert, Professor and Chair, Entrepreneurship Center, MIT.

MIT Professors Charles Cooney and William Mitchell touched on innovation and its key role in driving progress. Ben Cohen, Co-founder of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream was featured as the luncheon speaker.

“The most effective way for accelerating economic progress in the developing world is by empowering its emerging entrepreneurs and by leveraging technological innovation. We seek a balance in the debate on what constitutes effective development, which has traditionally been overwhelmingly out of balance in favor of top-down thinking,” said Iqbal Quadir, Director of the Legatum Center at MIT.

He emphasized that, “we therefore are very pleased to have brought together Nobel Laureates and leading entrepreneurs who second the notion of business as key driver for development.”

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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