Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Living Under Conspiracies

September 22, 2009

By Hussain Nadim

I must confess that up until 2008, I was one of those people living in Pakistan who thought 9/11 was an inside job and that the War on Terror was actually a War on Islam. I have lived 18 years of my life in a country that has been overwhelmed by conspiracies. Whether it is a suicide attack on a five star hotel or economic turmoil, our government has comfortably blamed the Indians and the United States for every flaw of our society. During the time I spent in Pakistan I pondered why every other country conspired against us? The only answer I got from the people was that they (the United States and India) hate us because we are Muslims and we are a nuclear power. Reluctant and unsatisfied, I would accept these answers. However, this was soon to change.

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Dispatch From Abroad: Developments in Beirut

July 20, 2009

By Bram de Roos

The Mediterranean Coast of Beirut, Lebanon.  Photo: Bram de Roos

The Mediterranean Coast of Beirut, Lebanon. Photo: Bram de Roos

After studying Arabic for the last academic year and getting a taste of financial management through a course at the Business School, I decided in the spring that it would be good to get some experience in finance in an Arab country. With a background in political science, Japanese studies and anthropology, I figured it would be hard to start managing a Gulf-based investment fund right away. Instead, I decided to look for an opportunity in microfinance.

My interest in international development and base-of-pyramid business models made me curious about this much-praised approach to help ‘the poor’. Especially after setting up a team of Students in Free Enterprise at GW, I was curious to see how other organizations stimulate entrepreneurship. All the while, it would give me an opportunity to test my newly acquired finance and language skills in a new environment.

So I went online, looked for microfinance organizations anywhere in the Arab world (strategically omitting Afghanistan) and send them e-mails offering my services as an intern. Of the scores of messages sent, just a few resulted in a reply. But eventually, I only needed one, so when Al Majmoua in Lebanon asked me to do an Activity-Based cost analysis to look for ways to improve their profitability, my plans for the summer were sealed.

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