The S.E.VEN Fund (SEVEN) is announcing its 2009 - 2010 Student Essay Competition. This year we are seeking essays on inspiring new models of economic development from around the globe. The competition will award one (1) student prize of $10,000. The submission deadline is December 7, 2009 at midnight Eastern Standard Time (EST). Winners will be announced on February 7, 2010.
Business journalist Jeff Chu’s article “Rwanda Rising: A New Model of Development” (Fast Company Magazine, April 2009) tells the story of how the African nation of Rwanda is pioneering a new model of economic development that has broken existing paradigms and subverts traditional dynamics where rich donors parentalize the poor, and where development solutions are top-down, driven by sentimentality, and ultimately ineffective.
Chu describes Rwanda’s model of development as placing the locus of responsibility for peace and prosperity on its own shoulders, using business as a force for positive change, turning mere sympathizers into friends, and benign donors into effective partners and investors. With strong leadership, a clear vision, and a mandate to control its own national economic destiny, Rwanda’s approach requires having not just a heart, but also more importantly, a mind for the poor. The more deeply one explores Rwanda’s model, the clearer it becomes that because all partners derive unique benefits this form of development is sustainable.
The SEVEN Fund is looking for other models like this, at the national, regional, or city levels, where communities and leaders have decided to stimulate human and economic development through a “heretical mix” of business strategy, local wisdom, and mutual benefit. Essay writers are asked to review the article, “Rwanda Rising: A New Model of Development”, and in a similar fashion, tell the story of enterprise solutions to poverty in other places, to highlight where these models are taking root and flourishing around the world.
The winner will be announced on February 7, 2010. The winning essay may be published on SEVEN’s website, or in selected magazines and publications. SEVEN intends to publish a selection of all submitted essays on its website and in other publications. By entering the essay competition, students are understood to give their permission for their essay to be used in that fashion.
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