BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo School of Management,
the University at Albany's Center for International Development,
the Levin Institute and the United Nations Capital Development Fund
(UNCDF) have signed an agreement to expand a microfinance training
program that explores why and how microfinance operations grow to
provide financial services to low-income people on a sustainable
Microfinance is focused on providing basic financial services to
the poor. Financial services needed by the poor include small
loans, consumer credit, savings, pensions, insurance and money
The Microfinance Distance Learning course, which was developed
by UNCDF for Web, distance learning and classroom delivery, brings
together advice and best practices from successful microfinance
practitioners and institutions around the world, from Latin America
to Africa to Asia and the Arab States.
With the signing of the agreement, the State University of New
York, through the University at Buffalo School of Management, the
Center for International Development of the Rockefeller College,
University at Albany and the Levin Institute, will further develop
and deliver the course to a broad audience.
"The Microfinance Distance Learning program represents a
significant innovation for organizations engaged in the critical
work of creating opportunities for building entrepreneurship and
small business in emerging economies," said UB School of Management
Dean John M. Thomas, Ph.D.
"It is also a unique opportunity for the UB School of Management
to apply our expertise in management education to this important
goal," he added. "We look forward to working with our SUNY partners
and the U.N. Capital Development Fund to make this project a long
term, sustainable success."
Henriette Keijzers, interim executive secretary at UNCDF, said
the partnership with SUNY offered another boost to building more
inclusive financial sectors.
"Our UNCDF microfinance colleagues invested a lot of time,
energy and resources into developing this program," she said. "The
intention was to promote knowledge of microfinance to as broad an
audience as possible, which is now happening through partnerships
like this one with SUNY."
The Levin Institute, the Center for International Development
and the UB School of Management will further develop strategic
partnerships to expand the implementation of the training program
in the U.S. and internationally.
Possible partnerships may include NGOs, governments and
development agencies, with the goal of offering training programs
on microfinance using the UNCDF materials. Symposiums on
microfinance for academics and businesspeople are also being
"The opportunity for SUNY and the Levin Institute to work with
the United Nations in helping to inform a new cohort of business
leaders, policymakers, and entrepreneurs about the world of
microfinance represents an exciting educational opportunity for
us," said Denis Simon, Ph.D., provost of the Levin Institute. "By
assisting in the diffusion of knowledge about microfinance, we hope
to spark new pockets of growth and development in countries that
will benefit greatly from being able to access these new channels
Jeffrey D. Straussman, Ph.D, dean of the Rockefeller College of
Public Affairs and Policy, said the agreement with UNCDF offers an
unprecedented opportunity for SUNY to impact the academic and
business worlds in the area of microfinance. "And the collaboration
of the different SUNY organizations is an excellent model to
maximize SUNY's outreach - locally and globally," he said.
Established in 1966 by the U.N. General Assembly with a unique
mandate to invest in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the
United Nations Capital Development Fund is affiliated with U.N.
Development Program and contributes to the attainment of the
Millennium Development Goals at the local level through a unique
combination of investment capital (grants, credits and guarantees),
capacity building support and technical advisory services within
its two practice areas: (i) Inclusive Financial Sectors and (ii)
Decentralization and Local Development. UNCDF currently has active
programs valued at approximately $125 million in 39 LDCs. More
information is available at www.uncdf.org.
The Wall Street Journal ranks the UB School of Management No. 9
in the nation among schools with strong regional recruiting bases.
In addition, BusinessWeek ranks the school as one of the country's
top 5 business schools for the fastest return on MBA investment,
and Forbes cites it as one of the best business schools in the U.S.
for the return on investment it provides MBA graduates. For more
information about the UB School of Management, visit
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive
public university, a flagship institution in the State University
of New York system that is its largest and most comprehensive
campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic
interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and
professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at
Buffalo is a member of the Association of American