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EMERGING CAPITAL / From Threat to Opportunity

PUSH 2005: The Geography of Change, Session 1


Already more than 50% of the population in developing countries is under the age of twenty-five, with continued growth expected over the next generations. This tipping point in global demographics suggests either incredible unrest or unrealized opportunity. What will it take to liberate the great entrepreneurial urge in this population? And, as globalizing influences introduce new possibilities for development, how likely are they to be our future business partners?


Iqbal Quadir is an accomplished entrepreneur who writes about the critical roles of entrepreneurship and innovations in improving the economic and political conditions in low-income countries. Quadir is often credited as having been the earliest observer of the potential for mobile phones to transform low-income countries. His work has been recognized by leaders and organizations worldwide as a new and successful approach to sustainable poverty alleviation.

Quadir realized in the early 1990s that the ensuing digital revolution could facilitate the introduction of telephone access throughout Bangladesh, including its rural areas. To make this vision a reality, he partnered with micro-credit pioneer Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, and Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor to create Grameenphone. Grameenphone is now Bangladesh’s leading telecommunications operator providing access to over 35 million subscribers irrespective of their geographic location or economic standing.


Ethan Zuckerman is a global activist and researcher focused on the impact of technology on the developing world. Based at the  Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, he is the cofounder of Global Voices, an international web-based community of bloggers and citizen journalists dedicated to broadening intercultural understanding and improving global journalism.


Ingo Günther is a journalist and new media artist known for visualizing statistical information in installations and online. After working as a correspondent for the United Nations, Günther founded the Ocean Earth Construction and Development Corporation, an organization that visualizes raw data from crisis zones around the world. Since 1988, Günther has created over 300 different color-coded globes to map a miscellany of global trends, from refugee populations to the number of televisions per capita. Günther is interested in the social and political power of information that is often taken for granted. Günther's work has been shown at Nationalgalerie Berlin, the Venice Biennale, Documenta, and the Guggenheim Museum, among other prestigious international institutions.


Marc Sommers is an internationally recognized youth expert and an award-winning author. He has conducted research, assessments and evaluations, and provided technical advice, in twenty-one war-affected countries (16 in Africa) since 1990. An Africanist, anthropologist, educationalist and evaluator, he has consulted for donor agencies, NGOs, UN agencies and policy institutes, taught for many years at The Fletcher School, Tufts University, and was both a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. His seventh and most recent book is "Stuck: Rwandan Youth and the Struggle for Adulthood" (2012). An earlier book, "Fear in Bongoland: Burundi Refugees in Urban Tanzania," received the 2003 Margaret Mead Award. When not engaged in consulting work, he is finalizing a new book on youth in war-affected Africa.


Zafar Qadir has served as the Economic Minister and Pakistan's Deputy Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization since August 2004. He previously worked as an expert on economic diplomacy for the Government of Pakistan, and as head of the Foreign Trade Wing in the MInistry of Commerce, led Pakistan delegations in market access negotiations both at bilateral and regional levels. He facilitated the historic Soutn Asian Free Trade Area, the ECO Trade Agreement, and a free trade agreement between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Qadir is also the founder and director of the Taaleem Foundation, an NGO that delivers formal schooling for the tribal areas of Pakistan, raising literacy rates, employment, and social reforms for the Balochistan region.