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Elisabeth Rhyne, 2008-09 Weissberg Chair

Weissberg Program in International Studies, March 23-28, 2009
Empowering the Poor: The Role of Microfinance in Economic and Social Development

Elisabeth RhyneBeloit College celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Weissberg Program in International Studies with a weeklong program featuring practitioners implementing microfinance programs around the world as a means for empowering the poor to improve the economic and social health of their families and communities.

The week included discussions, workshops, class visits and public lectures, with panel discussions taking place on Saturday, March 28. The featured speaker in the 2008-09 Weissberg Residency was Elisabeth Rhyne. “A Local Fix for a Global Mess” is the title of Ms. Rhyne’s Friday evening lecture.

See Elisabeth Rhyne's commentary at the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos.

Elisabeth Rhyne is a leading expert and researcher in the field of microfinance. Her research has resulted in new financial products and microfinance programs in Africa and India.

Elisabeth Rhyne is the Managing Director of the Center for Financial Inclusion at ACCION International. As senior vice president of ACCION International from 2000-2008, Ms. Rhyne led ACCION’s initial entry into Africa and India and directed the organization’s research efforts to develop new financial products and managed ACCION’s publications and educational activities.

Ms. Rhyne has published numerous articles and four books on microfinance, including Mainstreaming Microfinance: How Lending to the Poor Began, Grew and Came of Age in Bolivia (Kumarian Press, 2001). She was also co-editor of The New World of Microenterprise Finance (Kumarian, 1994), which provided the introduction to microfinance for many of the field’s current professionals.  Her forthcoming book, Microfinance for Bankers and Investors, will be published by McGraw-Hill in June, 2009.

Ms. Rhyne was director of the Office of Microenterprise Development at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from 1994 to 1998, where she developed and led USAID's Microenterprise Initiative.  Ms. Rhyne’s experience includes eight years living in Africa (Kenya and Mozambique), consulting on microfinance policy and operations for governments, international organizations and microfinance institutions.

Ms. Rhyne holds a master's and Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history and humanities from Stanford University.

ACCION International, one of the world's leading global microfinance institutions. ACCION began in Brazil in 1973 and has expanded to provide technical assistance, investment, governance and financial services to microfinance programs on three continents.

Conference: March 28 - Empowering the Poor: The Role of Microfinance in Economic and Social Development
Participants: Elisabeth Rhyne, Paul Christensen, Karol Boudreaux, Sally Merrill, Steve Sellers, Warner Woodworth

Follow and contribute to the discussions of the role of microfinance in economic and social development at the center for financial inclusion blog.