Institute for Business in the Global Context

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Tag: CEME Senior Fellows

CEME Perspectives: The End of the Chapter

by Ari Axelrod, CEME Senior Fellow

It is a stately mansion located in one of the most prestigious areas of St. Petersburg. It has its own beautifully landscaped garden, a rarity in Russia’s Northern Capital. It is a stone throw from Smolny Institute, the seat of the Governor of St. Petersburg. And the views on the majestic Smolny Cathedral and the bend of the Neva River cannot be beaten. The three story building was built in 1902-1903 as an orphanage named after Baron Vladimir Frederics (a confidant and the Imperial Household Minister of Nicolas II), served as a military hospital during World War II, and later housed an Art College. In 1993, Anatoly Sobchak, then the mayor of St. Petersburg ordered to hand it over to British Consulate General.

The decision to turn the building over to British diplomats was not met with unanimous approval. To many, the building’s grandeur and location were symbolic of the new Russia’s openness to the West. That was a policy of which Anatoly Sobchak was one of the most influential champions. Yet KGB challenged the decision, ostensibly concerned about possibility of British “agents” tapping into the nearby government cable.

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CEME Senior Fellow Kingsley Moghalu Announces Candidacy for President of Nigeria

by Kingsley Moghalu, CEME Senior Fellow

Declaration of Intention to Contest the 2019 Presidential Election
originally posted on Medium

With love for our country and a fierce commitment to a vision of rapid progress for our more than 180 million citizens, and following wide-ranging consultations, I offer myself to serve you as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as from May 29, 2019. I therefore intend to be a candidate in the 2019 presidential election. I seek the opportunity to offer our country visionary, purposeful, competent leadership to build our future.

Nearly 60 years ago, our Founding Fathers Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Obafemi Awolowo envisioned a great country that would take its pride of place in the world based on the talents of its citizens and a constitutional federation that would ensure justice, equity, and economic productivity.

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“Simple: No Address, No Money” by Ignacio Mas

by Ignacio Mas, CEME Senior Fellow

Sometimes small experiences can shake your confidence to the bone by exposing the fragility of things you took for granted. Such was the case with my recent trouble accessing my bank account with Simple, a new-generation digital only bank, which I described here. I’ve lost my money, simply because I can’t remember the address on record associated with the account. (I was at a transient stage in my life back then and I gave a friends’ – but which one?). I can’t be me if I don’t know my address – that thing that usually everyone else around you knows!

The financial stake for me was small, but it triggered two overwhelming thoughts.

First, your entire financial situation can change by failing to answer what in most circumstances would seem like a reasonable, straight-forward question. Who knew that in this fast-paced, information-rich digital age, something as banal as an old address can stand between you and your money? Next time it won’t be for forgetting an address, but now I can’t help worrying about what other seemingly trivial test I might fail in the future that will cause me to lose all the money in my main bank accounts. A new type of financial insecurity looms.

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The Digital Demands of the Displaced: Don’t track me, don’t expose me, don’t cut me off

by Kim Wilson, CEME Senior Fellow & Lecturer, The Fletcher School

Predictably, the long tentacles of financial inclusion have coiled themselves around the most vulnerable targets of humanitarian aid: low income refugees, migrants and displaced populations (hereon: “refugees”).

Just as predictably, the financial inclusion agenda is driven by suppliers (aid providers, donors, financial intermediaries and governments). Few refugees are demanding to be included in a digital/formal ecosystem. That does not mean they don’t appreciate the shelter, food and cash that humanitarian agencies have mustered on their behalf. They do. They also appreciate the efforts of those same agencies to make cash assistance easier. E-cash that can be transformed into physical cash at convenient times and places is an example. Use of debit cards at ATMs to withdraw cash from digital accounts can cut valuable time otherwise spent waiting in long cash distribution queues. Very appreciated, indeed.

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Facebook Live Interview: “Peace Through Entrepreneurship,” with Steven Koltai and Dean James Stavridis

Tomorrow at 9:30AM EST Dean James Stavridis will go LIVE with alumnus, author and CEME Senior Fellow Steven Koltai! Tune in and watch on The Fletcher School Facebook page as the pair discuss Koltai’s latest book, “Peace through Entrepreneurship.”

Can’t make the event? Stay tuned for an archived version of the chat!

PayPal, Facebook, Apple, and More: 12 Days at Fletcher

March and April are always a busy time at Fletcher. Mid-terms give way to the semester’s final crescendo, warm spring  weather lifts everyone’s spirits, and, of course, calendars fill with scores of exciting events across campus. This year, the two weeks from March 28th through April 8th brought a seemingly non-stop flow of fascinating speakers and prestigious celebrations, from the IBGC Speaker Series to Tufts University-wide events. Many focused on technology and entrepreneurship, but others brought high-profile visitors to discuss a wealth of other issues.

Learn more about these exciting two weeks at Fletcher:

Legal Seafoods CEO Roger Berkowitz

Monday, March 28: Legal Seafoods CEO Roger Berkowitz spoke about the sustainability and the global supply chain as part of the IBGC Speaker Series. He punctuated his perspective on the fish business by noting, “”At the end of the day, if we’re not conservationists, we’re not going to be in business!” Later that same day, Dan Schulman, President & CEO of PayPal, spoke alongside Hewlett Foundation cyber-security expert Eli Sugerman in a discussion entitled, “21st Century Cybersecurity: Challenges and Opportunities.” Read more about the event here

Tuesday, March 29: Tuesday took a deeper dive into the world of financial technology, as CEME Senior Fellow Arthur Sculley hosted an intimated lunchtime round table discussion on “The Future of FinTech 2.0.”

Wednesday, March 30: The Murrow Center, Hitachi Center, and Cyber Working Group came together to welcome Andrea Glorioso, Counselor for the Digital Economy  from the Delegation of the European Union to the US, for a talk on future prospects for markets and transatlantic relations in a digital context.

Thursday, March 31: The second IBGC Speaker Series event of the week brought the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (better known as DARPA), Dr. Arati Prabhakar to campus for a luncheon lecture to discuss “Technologies to Bend the Arc of the Future.” You can read a write-up of the event here

Monday, April 4: The following week showed no let up in great evemts around Tufts University as Jeff Rothschild, former VP at Facebook, came to campus to discuss his observations on entrepreneurship and technology in his talk titled, “From Punched Cards to Social Media.”

Wednesday, April 6: Presented by the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, Fouad Siniora, former Prime Minister of Lebanon, gave a talk on the risks and opportunities presented by “The Emerging Middle East.”

DARPA Director Dr. Arati Prabhakar

DARPA Director Dr. Arati Prabhakar

Thursday, April, 7: Day 2 of the Tufts Entrepreneurial Showcase featured the finalists for the Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition, with two Fletcher-led teams — Blue Water Metrics and Uliza — placing in the Top 3.

Friday, April 8: The busy and exciting 12 days at Fletcher came to a close, wrapping up the week with yet another IBGC Speaker Series event. “The Future of Innovation” was the topic, as former Apple and Pepsi CEO John Sculley spoke to a packed house over lunch, full of inspiration and insight. There was plenty to dig into about the future of technology, but to him, innovation boils down to one thing: “It’s all about having insatiable curiosity.”

These events are just a small sampling of the wonderful happenings at Fletcher ever semester. Be sure to check out the Fletcher Calendar, IBGC Speaker Series, and Fletcher Features, as well as right here on this blog.

Financial Inclusion and Immigration in Europe – Disrupting Identity Norms

by Brenda Santoro and Ahmed Dermish
with the support of Kim Wilson, CEME Senior Fellow

In uncertain times do developed economies have the resiliency in their financial inclusion processes to withstand rapid change without risking systemic stability and consumer protection?

Modern, nationally integrated systems, high-capacity supervision, and flexible policymaking are helping Germany turn the refugee crisis into an economic opportunity.

The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, commonly known as BAFIN, this fall relaxed requirements for opening a bank account. The new rules allow accounts to be opened with a stamped document from an appropriate German authority, such as BAFIN, along with a picture and personal information. Transitional rules are in effect until the approval of the law, expected this year. A directive in the European Union, which will begin in September 2016, will require similar access to bank accounts across the EU.

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“The Course We Wish We Had Taken Years Ago” by Ignacio Mas & Kim Wilson

by Ignacio Mas & Kim Wilson

Most of us in the digital financial services space have had to learn about digital payments and digital financial services on the job. While there are business school courses in banking and supermarket distribution networks, they don’t prepare you for a career in building the basic 21st century infrastructure of Digital Money. Digital money is our term for any transaction that securely enables the sending, receiving, storing, or tracing of money on digital networks.

As a result, the increasing number of companies building out teams in the emerging Digital Financial Services space face severe capacity bottlenecks, especially in developing countries. Their employees may come to develop deep operational expertise in the specific aspect of the industry they are involved in, but often lack a broader perspective of industry trends and issues, and remain unaware of alternative models that exist elsewhere.

In order to address this, the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI), which was recently co-founded by David Porteous, Gavin Krugel and Ignacio Mas, is partnering with the Fletcher School to create the first university-certified course in Digital Money. This is an intensive, 12-week online course, and it will be offered for the first time this February, in English (see the course brochure).

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Welcome Back to Campus, CEME Senior Fellows!

We’d like to welcome our distinguished Senior Fellows from the Council on Emerging Market Enterprises (CEME) back to the Fletcher School. Our fellows are world-renowned experts in their fields and a vital part of all the work we do here at IBGC, wearing many hats alongside us, from advisors to project directors and much more. They are on campus today for the groups biannual meeting to bring together all their work and find new ways of looking at the ecosystem and interplay of the global economy.

These senior fellows are regional and thematic thought leaders on a range of globally impactful issues — international finance and global capital flows, financial inclusion, Indian consumerism, innovation and entrepreneurship, urbanization, managing in complex environments, among others. CEME Fellows contribute to and lead research initiatives at the Institute, working with students to bring the latest in contextual thinking to the challenges and opportunities of operating in emerging markets.

Learn more about these prestigious fellows and all the exciting work they do

“Hungary and the Migrants: Groundhog Day” by Steven Koltai, CEME Senior Fellow

by Steven Koltai, CEME Senior Fellow

I couldn’t help but cringe when I saw the video of the Hungarian TV camerawoman deliberately tripping a fleeing refugee carrying his two-year-old-ish child across the Serbian/Hungarian border. Almost exactly 60 years ago, I was a two-year-old-ish child being carried by my father fleeing across the Hungarian/Austrian border during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. That picture told a thousand stories.

Like any people, there are wonderful, kind, moral, and ethical Hungarians. There are also deeply bigoted, xenophobic, irredentist, “un-Christian” Hungarians. Hungary has been on the wrong side of history for centuries. This is largely the explanation for why it is one-third of its “normal” geographic size and probably about the same for what would have been its “normal” population. What is especially tragic – besides being the poster child for history repeating itself – is that the refugees pouring in to “Old Europe” are actually precisely the sort of new energy and lifeblood that waning countries like Hungary need to revitalize their economies and their cultures.

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