Fall 2017 Symposium


Development Beyond Aid

Nov. 10, 2017, 12:00-5:00 PM

Milstein East C, Wasserstein Hall



Each year, LIDS organizes a symposium of global relevance. This fall, the LIDS symposium is entitled Development Beyond Aid. In a time when funding for international development is threatened, the symposium will focus on alternatives to the traditional “giving” model of international development and how to maximize the results from the funding organizations do have.  Our keynote speaker will discuss the problems with the giving model of international development, and provide broad suggestions for improvement.  Our first panel will focus specifically on how businesses can encourage international development by serving the worlds’ poorest.  Between the two panels, a speaker will discuss evidence-based choices in programming.  Our second panel will outline domestic changes that could create international benefits, including agricultural subsidies, international trade regulation, climate policy, and ethical consumption. Finally, a speaker will make concluding remarks about the way forward.


Video Archive 

Symposium Schedule

Opening Speaker                                                                                         12:00pm – 12:45pm

Mark Weber

Fellow, MIT Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship

Producer, Poverty, Inc.


Panel 1: How Businesses Can Serve the Poor                                            1:00pm – 2:00 pm

Eric Solomonson

Agricultural Research Director, One Acre Fund


Lizzie Merrill

Entrepreneur, Invanti


Kevin Saunders

General Counsel, Accion International


Evidence-based Development                                                                      2:05pm – 2:55pm

Yuen Ho,

Senior Policy Associate, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab


Panel 2: Domestic Changes for International Development                     3:00pm – 4:00pm

Gawain Kripke

Director of Policy and Research, Oxfam America


Paloma Pineda

Co-founder, Ethical Apparel Africa


Katrin Kuhlmann

President and Founder, New Markets Lab


Jonah Busch

Visiting Fellow, Center for Global Development. 


Closing Speaker                                                                                            4:05pm – 5:00pm

Faizal Karmali

Associate Director, Network Engagement & Bellagio Programs, Rockefeller Center


Evening Reception with Speakers                                                               5:00pm – 6:00pm

Location TBD


Opening Keynote: Problems with and alternatives to aid


Mark Weber: Mark Weber (@markrweber) is a Fellow at the MIT Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship and a project manager at the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative, a research group focused on decentralizing trust and disrupting power structures with cryptographic peer-to-peer exchange and distributed systems. Focused on financial inclusion, Mark leads the DCI’s research on blockchain asset registries and has developed a prototype for inventory-based lending. Mark also manages DCI’s working groups, cross-functional teams of students from across MIT hacking on pressing issues connected to cryptocurrencies and related technologies.

Prior to MIT, Mark co-produced the critically acclaimed documentary, “Poverty, Inc.” (available on Netflix), which has earned over 50 international film festival honors, the $100,000 Templeton Freedom award, TV broadcast deals in 12 countries, and praise across the political spectrum, from Michael Moore to Nobel laureate Angus Deaton. Drawing on over 200 interviews from 20 countries, the film critiques the Western development establishment and its tendency to undermine local markets, cultures, and governance. Learn more and see Mark’s post-screening Q&A’s at www.povertyinc.org.


Panel 1: Businesses that alleviate poverty


Eric Solomonson: Eric Solomonson is the Agricultural Research Director at One Acre Fund, a social enterprise serving smallholder farmers in East Africa. Through a complete bundle of services offered on credit, the organization distributes quality farm inputs to the remote areas where farmers live, trains farmers on agriculture techniques, and educates them on how to minimize post-harvest losses and maximize market prices. The organization currently serves over 400,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi. Eric is responsible for coordinating efforts across One Acre Fund countries of operation to identify and research new agricultural technologies and agronomic practices to be taken to scale. He lived and worked in East Africa for five years and prior to working for One Acre Fund ran an agricultural technology start up in western Kenya. Eric holds a BA in Economics and International Studies from Northwestern University.

Lizzie Merrill: Lizzie is an Entrepreneur with INVANTI, an accelerator that fosters start-ups dealing with some of the most pressing issues for low and middle-income Americans around Financial Inclusion. She believes that using business as a way to develop social solutions and garner positive social impact is the most sustainable way to a more inclusive future for all. Before joining INVANTI, Lizzie spent the last three years helping grow and scale emerging market social enterprises in Ghana, focusing on the nexus between profitability and social impact. She worked as a business developer for Ignitia, a tropical weather forecasting company that provides services directly to small-scale farmers.  She also worked as a social impact analyst for SeKAF, a Ghanaian owned and operated social enterprise that provides raw ingredients and shea based bath and beauty products sourced through an environmentally friendly and ethical supply chain. She began her career in international development before transitioning into Corporate Social Responsibility, and has traveled extensively representing herself and her companies at conferences, awards, and for media outlets. She holds a BA in International Relations from Washington University in St. Louis and an MSc in International Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility from the University of Edinburgh.

Kevin Saunders Kevin Saunders joined Accion in 2007 and is currently its General Counsel. He is responsible for all of Accion’s legal and corporate governance affairs, including managing and directly providing the legal support for Accion’s extensive impact investing activities.

Mr. Saunders has provided essential guidance on many different aspects of the organization’s work advancing inclusive finance. He has served as the primary counsel for the more than 30 Accion Venture Lab and Frontier transactions and investments in bold, disruptive fintech startups; helped close Accion Investments in Microfinance, SPC; coordinated the capital raise and restructuring that improved and expanded Accion’s microfinance work in China; led Accion’s investment in Myanmar’s DAWN; and served as the Secretary to Accion’s Board of Directors.

Prior to joining Accion, Mr. Saunders served as a law clerk with Boston University’s Office of General Counsel, a private law firm, the international health non-profit Partners in Health, and the Arkansas Department of Human Services. He had also provided legal services to veterans and homeless individuals and conducted research with the International Consortium for Law and Development. Mr. Saunders holds a JD from the Boston University School of Law. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Arkansas State University. Mr. Saunders has been admitted to the bar of the state of Massachusetts.

Maximizing funding: M&E and evidence-based policies


Yuen Ho: Yuen is a Senior Policy Associate at J-PAL Global, where she manages the Governance Initiative (GI), which funds randomized evaluations of interventions designed to improve participation in the political and policy process, reduce corruption and leakages, and improve state capacity. Yuen also manages J-PAL’s Policy Publications and recently published a briefcase on The Role of the VAT for Tax Enforcement. In addition, she supports J-PAL’s policy and research activities in the Middle East and North Africa. Throughout her portfolio, Yuen supports the role of evidence in informing policy through disseminating research findings and building partnerships with practitioners and policymakers.

Prior to joining J-PAL, Yuen worked with Innovations for Poverty Action on a randomized evaluation of a budget transparency initiative in Uganda. She has also worked as a consultant for the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program. Yuen holds an M.A. in International Economics and Relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a B.A. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Panel 2: Domestic changes for international effects


Gawain Kripke: Gawain Kripke is the Director of Policy and Research at Oxfam America, and has more than 20 years of experience working in public policy and advocacy.  His department, including a staff of more than 20, conducts research and policy advocacy, focusing on the effectiveness of foreign aid and development, climate change, trade and agriculture, humanitarian issues, and extractive industries.

Kripke has authored Oxfam publications and contributed papers on food security, food aid and international trade.  He is a frequent commentator on foreign aid, human rights, humanitarian issues, and agricultural policies in major news media, including The New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, BBC World News and Marketplace. He has testified before Congressional committees on US trade policy, US food security policy, and US biofuels policy.

At Oxfam, Kripke previously served as Senior Policy Advisor on Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign, which aims to reform unfair trade rules so that international trade can become a powerful force for reducing global poverty.

Before joining Oxfam, he served as Director of Economic Programs for the environmental organization Friends of the Earth.  Kripke earned a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard College, and has authored numerous opinion pieces and briefing papers on trade and development issues.

Paloma Pineda: Paloma co-founded Ethical Apparel Africa after working in management consulting at Bain & Company. At Bain, Paloma consulted across a wide variety of industries – including healthcare, finance, and manufacturing – to resolve critical strategic questions and analytical challenges for clients. She presented to CEOs and COOs at multi-billion dollar companies on topics such as organizational restructuring, strategic positioning, and change management. Prior to Bain, Paloma led monitoring & evaluation initiatives for several non-profits in West Africa and India. Her resulting drive to create tangible social impact – in particular through sustainable and empowering employment for women – led her to EAA.  She has a BA in Ethics, Politics and Economics from Yale University.

Jonah Busch: Jonah Busch is a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development.  He is an environmental economist whose research focuses on climate change and tropical deforestation.

Busch is the co-author of Why Forests? Why Now? The Science, Economics, and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change (Frances Seymour and Jonah Busch, Center for Global Development, December 2016). He is the lead developer of the OSIRIS model for analyzing and designing policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. His research on climate and forests has been published in academic journals including Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Land Economics, and Environmental Research Letters. He has also published on the economics of penguins, pandas, and surfers.  He serves on the editorial board of Conservation Letters

Busch has advised on climate and forests for the President of Guyana, the governments of Norway, Indonesia, Bolivia, Suriname, Colombia, the United Kingdom, and California, the Global Environment Facility, and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. He is a research fellow at the Center for Effective Global Action at the University of California, Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the College of Environmental and Resource Sciences of Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.

Prior to joining CGD Busch was the Climate and Forest Economist at Conservation International. Previously he served in the Peace Corps (Burkina Faso, ‘00-‘02) as a high school math teacher. He speaks French, Spanish, Indonesian, Mooré, and Chinese with varying degrees of proficiency and has traveled in more than sixty-five countries.

Katrin Kuhlmann: Katrin Kuhlmann is the President and Founder of the New Markets Lab, a legal and regulatory think tank and innovation lab that improves systems for economic law and regulation to generate broad-based opportunity and entrepreneurship. She is a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School and an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center. Her areas of focus include trade and development law, economic law and regulation, regional trade agreements, social enterprise, and international legal and regulatory reform. She is published widely and frequently speaks on these topics.

Ms. Kuhlmann is a member of the Advisory Boards of the Law and International Development Society (LIDS) at Harvard and Georgetown Law Schools, and she directs the Trade Innovation Initiative through Harvard LIDS. She is also a member of the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa of the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Bretton Woods Committee, the Trade Policy Forum, and the Trade, Finance, and Development Experts Group of the E15 Initiative led by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development and the World Economic Forum. She serves on the boards of the Washington International Trade Association and Malaika Foundation and is a member of the Advisory Group of the Global Food Security Project of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Ms. Kuhlmann was a 2012-13 Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard Law School and Co-Founder and President of TransFarm Africa. She has served as a Senior Fellow and Director at the Aspen Institute, a Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and a senior executive at several non-profit organizations. She also served as the Director for Eastern Europe and Eurasia at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative from 1999-2005 and practiced international law at Skadden and Dewey Ballantine. She holds degrees from Harvard Law School and Creighton University and was the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship to study international economics.

Concluding Remarks

4:05 – 5:00

Faizal Karmali: Faizal leads the Rockefeller Foundation’s strategic work on network engagement, helping Foundation teams build and harness partnerships with individuals and organizations across the public, private and social sectors. Engagement across sectors has been central to The Rockefeller Foundation’s successes in the complex global problems with which it engages. In addition, he oversees strategic partnerships and programming related to the Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy – a space known for enabling cross-sectoral, international discourse to advance knowledge and catalyze action around critical social challenges.

The first decade of his career was with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and included postings in Asia, Europe, and East Africa, including time with the Department of Diplomatic Affairs at the Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan. His time with the AKDN increasingly involved a focus on government and private sector relations, engaging senior decision-makers around the AKDN’s social and economic investments including those in education, finance, aviation, energy, and media. Prior to joining the Foundation, Faizal co-founded an award-winning social enterprise that built software for Canada’s energy sector.

Faizal holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Western Ontario, and two master’s degrees, one in international education from the University of Toronto and an MBA from INSEAD.