Poverty and Power Research Inititiative

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We are a group that (has and) will host a weekly discussion/ speaker series on issues relating to
corruption in countries in crisis (eg. Haiti, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Chile etc.), but also on anything that
helps to understand how corruption seeps into different sectors, countries, and lives, how it heightens
those in power while continuing to crush those in poverty. To quote from the mission statement of
Global Financial Integrity (a group whose work inspires us):

"Our mission stems from the estimate that $1 trillion in funds which are illegally earned, transferred or
utilized are spirited across borders annually. Of this, $500 billion a year comes out of developing and
transitional economies into western accounts, constituting the most damaging economic condition
hurting the poor. Illicit capital flows enable drug cartels, terrorist organizations and tax evaders to move
cash around the globe, undermines the goals of the World Bank and other lending institutions, strips
developing nations of critical resources, and contributes to failed states. "

While our weekly discussions with experts are an important part of what we do, PPRI is focused on
being a hands- on, practical research initiative.

Under the guidance of a 2007/2008 IGL/PJTT INSPIRE Fellow Jose Maria Argueta, President of the
Institute for Central American Strategic Studies and former Guatemalan Ambassador to Peru and
Japan, a group of seven PPRI undergraduate and graduate students began examining the relationship
in Guatemala between poverty and inequality as manifested through national decision making
processes. The students researched Guatemala’s attempt to qualify for a new US foreign assistance
program, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which uses an incentive and rewards system of
aid conditionality to encourage democratic reform in developing countries.

PPRI is currently working on multiple issues such as corruption in humanitarian aid, changes in the
class divide post-earthquake etc. in Haiti. Also, we are partnering with the Project for Justice in Times of
Transition for possible research in Bosnia.