WPI Kicks-Off Fifth Year of 'Great Problems Seminars' With Talk by International 'Rural Entrepreneurship' Expert

Students to share project experiences in Kenya
August 31, 2011


Martin Burt is a pioneer in applying entrepreneurship to address chronic poverty.  He is the founder and CEO of Fundación Paraguay, a 25-year old NGO, and is known for having developed one of the world's first financially self-sufficient agricultural and tourism schools for the rural poor. Burt is also a co-founder of Teach a Man to Fish, a global network based in London that is partnering with more than 50 organizations from 27 countries to establish self-sufficient schools, mostly in rural areas. His activities with the World Economic Forum include participation on the Education Global Agenda Council and membership in the Latin American Entrepreneurship Group.


Burt will deliver a talk titled "Social Entrepreneurship as an Opportunity for Change," about how promotion of entrepreneurship and self-help can aid in the elimination of poverty around the world.  WPI students Anna Chase, Matt Connolly and Tayiesha Jackson will also recount how they brought their Great Problems Seminar projects to fruition by going to Malawa, Kenya.


Aug. 31 at 5 p.m.


The Odeum, Campus Center, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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WPI launched the "Great Problems Seminars" in 2007 as a new approach to engaging first-year students with the critical problems of our day, thanks to the generous support of Eric Hahn, a 1980 graduate of WPI and partner of the Inventures Group in Palo Alto, Calif.  The seminars focus on problems in the areas of food, energy, health, and engineering for sustainability – rather than on disciplines or departments or majors.   The addition of the Great Problems Seminars provides students with important early exposure to WPI's project-based curriculum and helps them develop the skills necessary for success in their future project work; as a requirement for graduation from WPI, students must complete two projects in addition to their course work. Undertaken in the junior and senior years, these projects provide WPI students with opportunities to apply classroom and lab-acquired knowledge to solve real-world problems. Student projects can occur either on or off campus, and often take place at sites that are facilitated by WPI's Global Projects Program in 26 cities on five continents.