San Diego Global Poverty Forum

PLNU's Center for International Development Hosts Speakers to Share Their International Development Experiences at the Global Poverty Forum

On February 15, 2016, the Center for International Development hosted the San Diego Global Poverty Forum at PLNU, bringing together people from all over San Diego to discuss and debate cutting-edge ideas, research, and discoveries in the field of global poverty alleviation.

“The CID exists to mentor students, support faculty, and engage the external community in the study and application of holistic business practices to alleviate global poverty,” said CID director Dr. Rob Gailey. “Today’s dialogue between experts in the field, our PLNU community, nonprofit leaders and other members of the San Diego community is a tangible example of that mission.”

The theme for this year’s session was, "What is Working and How Do We Know?" The following leaders in the international development sector provided TED Talk-style presentations, followed by an engaging question and answer session.

Kicking off the afternoon’s speaker series, Dr. Bruce Wydick, professor of economics at the University of San Francisco and author of Games in Economic Development and The Taste of Many Mountains, provided an analysis of the top 10 most cost-effective poverty alleviation methods according to economists. Wydick went a step further to break down those 10 methods into two groups; those providing the most benefit and those with limited to no impact on the individuals intended to serve. The immeasurable benefits of simple mosquito nets and the negligible impact of fair trade coffee surprised many in the audience.

Building on Wydick’s introduction of effective giving mechanisms, University of California, San Diego professor of economics, Dr. Paul Niehaus, provided an in-depth analysis of direct person to person giving. As President and Co-founder of GiveDirectly, Niehaus brought unique insight into the challenges of traditional giving and unique opportunities of direct transfers to poor people. “Traditional ways of giving internationally are complex,” explained Niehaus. “Advances in payments technology have drastically cut the costs of direct transfers and new research also supports the powerful impacts this has on recipients. At GiveDirectly we see these trends converging to make direct giving the benchmark against which the old, top-down models are evaluated.”

Dianne Calvi, President and CEO of Village Enterprise, wrapped up the individual speaker presentations with an evaluation of the data on micro-entrepreneurship and its impact on poverty and the role of hope in the individual experience. Village Enterprise, which was the inspiration for the founders of, has trained more than 130,000 micro-enterprise owners and helped start more than 30,000 small businesses in Kenya and Uganda. After the presentations, the panelists convened for a robust conversation with the audience facilitated by Gailey.

Following the forum, a dinner reception was hosted at the home of Wes and Heidi Wasson. Wes, a member of the CID Advisory Board, shared why he supports the work of the CID. The dinner provided an opportunity for guests to meet and talk with the three speakers from the forum and learn more about the CID’s mission and work. PLNU President Dr. Bob Brower and the Director of the CID, Dr. Rob Gailey, shared their passion for seeing students engage, learn, and connect with others on how to address global poverty through business and entrepreneurship. “Our passion at the CID is to help young people who want to make a difference in the fight against global poverty, but may not be sure where to start,” explained Gailey. “Your support allows us to connect those students who want to make a difference in the world, with the latest innovation and ideas about business and entrepreneurship as a way of breaking the cycle of global poverty.” The highlight of the evening was four PLNU alumni sharing their experiences and thoughts on how the CID influenced and shaped their vocational pursuits toward business-focused poverty alleviation.