This course provides a unique opportunity to develop cross cultural competency through travel, education, and service in the developing world. It offers the chance to study the impact of social businesses and microfinance upon global development -both from a theoretical and practical point of view. Ever since Grameen Bank founder, Professor Muhammad Yunus, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, awareness of and interest in the microfinance business model has risen dramatically. This course is designed to explore and analyze the key issues associated with microfinance and global development. In the process we will address such questions as: What is microfinance? What is a social business? What role has microfinance and social entrepreneurship played in global development? What are the limitations of microfinance and social business as a path for alleviating poverty? What are the ethical dimensions involved with globalization and can social entrepreneurs help to spread the benefits of globalization to the poor? Students will have a chance to explore these questions through course readings, class discussions, group projects, and on-site visits with social entrepreneurs.
Field WorkCountry: Argentina
This field lab will introduce students to the work of Help Argentina, a nonprofit that allows international donors to identify and support high impact nonprofits in Argentina. The mission of Help Argentina is to strengthen nonprofits working to create social change, increase confidence in the nonprofit sector, and promote a culture of giving among Argentines. Our host will be Bob Hannan, who currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors. Bob has been involved with Help Argentina since 2005, and recently completed a two year term as executive director. Bob will share his experiences with us and help us to understand the context and unique challenges faced by nonprofits in Argentina. In the afternoon, we will visit partners who are supported by Help Argentina, like Andar, an agency that generates meaningful work opportunities for people with disabilities, and Integral Gasification, a sustainable, alternative energy solution for enhancing access to public services in economically disadvantaged communities in Greater Buenos Aires.