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  Historic Gift Is Also Philanthropic First
  OpenCourseWare takes on the world
  Reputation Intact
  Powerful Perspectives
  Fletcher School Establishes Center on Counterterrorism
  Trip Strengthens Ties with India
  Anthropology and Sociology Departments Split
Trustee Pierre Omidyar, A88, founder of eBay, and his wife, University College Adviser Pamela Omidyar, J89

Historic Gift Is Also Philanthropic First
$100M to be invested in international microfinance initiatives

Tufts in November announced that graduates Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay and co-founder of Omidyar Network, with his wife, Pam, will invest $100 million in international microfinance initiatives through a unique partnership with their alma mater.

The $100 million endowment gift is the largest single gift in the history of Tufts, as well as the largest private allocation of capital to microfinance by an individual or family. The Omidyar-Tufts Microfinance Fund will be invested solely in microfinance initiatives. An independent supporting organization controlled by a board of directors will have fiduciary responsibility for investing the funds with the expectation of risk-appropriate financial returns.

“Partnering with the Omidyars to advance microfinance is a strategic fit for Tufts on many levels,” said President Lawrence S. Bacow. “As an economist, I’m attracted to microfinance as a financially self-sustaining model for making a difference in the world. Tufts’ commitment to active citizenship is a global pursuit that runs deep, and we are pleased to leverage resources that yield so many positive returns.”

Fifty percent of earnings from the fund will be reinvested in the original pool for additional microfinance programs. The remaining 50 percent of income will advance important Tufts programs such as support for faculty, financial aid, debt forgiveness for graduates pursuing careers in public service, and scholarships that will enable economically disadvantaged students to attend classes during summer session.

“We believe that business can be a tool for social good. Microfinance has already shown that enabling the poor to empower themselves economically can be good business,” said Pierre Omidyar. “By engaging Tufts as an institutional investor in microfinance initiatives, our hope is that the microfinance industry can better meet the demand for financial services among the world’s poor, while also demonstrating its potential commercial viability to a wider institutional investor audience.”

The $100 million investment will bolster international microfinance institutions in their efforts to scale their capacity to make loans to poor, predominantly female heads of households, who lack adequate income to provide the basic necessities of food, shelter, and clothing for themselves and their families. Microloans averaging $600—often as low as $40—enable the poor to launch their own entrepreneurial pursuits.

Pierre Omidyar noted that strategic alignment with Tufts was ideal for many reasons. “The university has not only demonstrated leadership in educating active citizens, but Tufts also has consistently engaged in seeking practical solutions to real-world issues around the globe,” he said.

This investment in international microfinance builds on the Omidyars’ well-established partnership with Tufts. In 1999, the University College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts was founded through the generosity of the Omidyars, and it has gained international attention for creatively embedding public service values, skills, and learning opportunities across the curriculum. Outreach activities involve students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of surrounding communities in programs ranging from child literacy to environmental cleanup.

More information on the Omidyar-Tufts Microfinance Fund is available at www.tufts.edu/microfinancefund.

OpenCourseWare takes on the world

You’re a medical student in the Philippines and you want to supplement your epidemiology coursework. Perhaps you live in the rural United States and you want to access information about zoological medicine that is otherwise out of reach. If you are any of these people, chances are you will take advantage of Tufts OpenCourseWare (OCW). OCW is part of an initiative aimed at providing high quality content for free to everyone online. Tufts’ initial offerings demonstrate the University’s strength in the life sciences and its commitment to active citizenship.

When MIT began the original OpenCourseWare initiative in 1999, it had to engineer a new system for disseminating course information via the Web. The process was much easier for Tufts, which in the mid-1990s had developed the Tufts University Sciences Knowledgebase (TUSK), a robust, multimedia content management system for course materials and instruction. Its dynamic content organization methods make it easy for faculty to share content across courses and for students to create personalized information collections.

The OCW website went live last summer and has already gained a tremendous following. Tufts is currently publishing materials for nine courses representing five of its professional schools: the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, the Fletcher School, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, the School of Dental Medicine, and the School of Medicine. Course selections include Pathophysiology of Infectious Diseases, International Multilateral Negotiation, Oral Public Health and Community Service, and Zoological Medicine, the most popular course so far.

Find out more at ocw.tufts.edu.


Reputation Intact

Tufts finished in the top five in projecting a positive image in a survey of 200 Massachusetts executives who were asked to rank enterprises based on their reputations and community and ethical standards. Tufts was ranked fourth in the annual Massachusetts Corporate Reputation Survey, sponsored by Morrissey & Co., a Boston public relations firm. Harvard topped the ratings, followed by Boston University, Children’s Hospital, Tufts, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston College, Northeastern University, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and Staples Inc.


Salman Rushdie
Melody Ko

Paul Rusesabagina
Melody Ko

Powerful Perspectives

Students on the Medford/Somerville campus this past fall were privileged to have several distinguished visitors of international stature share their insights and experiences. Salman Rushdie arrived on September 27 as part of the Snyder Presidential Lecture Series, endowed by Richard E. Snyder, A55. Discussing the challenges of writing novels, Rushdie noted that “good literature does not happen in the safe middle ground, in the place where there is no risk.” On November 15, Paul Rusesabagina, whose story is chronicled in the movie Hotel Rwanda, spoke to the overflow crowd in Cohen Auditorium. Rusesabagina saved more than 1,000 lives during the genocide in Rwanda more than ten years ago. Rusesabagina pointed out that the murder of one million people in his country represented 15 percent of its population. “The United States has nearly 300 million people. Can you imagine if 15 percent, or more than 40 million people, were killed, and the international community ran away? . . . Late is always late. It is now or never to raise awareness.” He was the inaugural speaker in the Merrin Distinguished Lecture Series; his lecture was part of a program called “Moral Voices on Genocide,” sponsored by Tufts Hillel.

Fletcher School Establishes Center on Counterterrorism

The Fletcher School this past fall launched a new counterterrorism center. The Jebsen Center on Counterterrorism will identify proactive counterterrorism alternatives to future terrorist threats, said Dean Stephen Bosworth.

Named for Jan Henrik Jebsen, a European businessman and philanthropist who provided a three-year, $1.5 million grant for the program, the center will work to increase the understanding and competency of counterterrorism professionals through teaching, research, publications, and conferences.

Retired Army Col. Russell D. Howard, a Fletcher graduate, is the center’s director. Most recently he was a professor and head of the Department of Social Sciences at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he also directed the Combating Terrorism Center. The center will be under the supervision of the school’s International Security Studies Program.

The Tufts delegation, photographed at the Taj Mahal, traveled to India to develop new partnerships and honor Tufts graduates abroad.
Trip Strengthens Ties with India

A delegation of key faculty, staff, trustees, and international board members traveled to Mumbai and New Delhi in November to bolster Tufts’ relationship with one of its highly valued global partners: India. Among the many activities Tufts organized was a meeting of the heads of Mumbai’s premier colleges and universities to discuss opportunities for collaboration. Panels included “The Future of the Pharmaceutical Industry in India,” “Human Security and the Role of Water,” and “The Role of India in the World.” Tufts also organized a presentation, “Development and Impact of Indian Film,” which featured Bollywood star Amisha Patel, J97, who drew a huge press contingent. President Lawrence S. Bacow presented Patel with the P. T. Barnum Award for Excellence in Entertainment. United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Shashi Tharoor, a three-time graduate of the Fletcher School, was on hand to receive the Fletcher School Dean’s Medal, while India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was awarded the President’s Medal, described by the Times of India as “one of [Tufts’] rare honors in recognition of the collaboration between its faculty and the Indian people.” Tufts further strengthened its relationship with India by signing agreements with a local hospital and two dental institutions for collaborative ventures with the Tufts University School of Medicine and the School of Dental Medicine.

Anthropology and Sociology Departments Split

After several decades of operating together, the anthropology and sociology departments have officially become two departments. Each department has its own chair but will continue to share office staff on the lower level of Eaton Hall. At present, the departments also continue to share a website. “Students for a long time have told us they would prefer to have separate departments,” said Rosalind Shaw, associate professor and chair of anthropology. “It’s easier for students to conceptualize an intellectual identity if the departments are separate.”