The campus is closed and staff will work remotely at least until the governor announces the reopening of the New York City Region. See the Coronavirus / COVID-19 Updates page.

Debates in Development: The Search for Answers

Thursday, March 22, 2012, 9am - 5pm

Add to Calendar

“Debates in Development: The Search for Answers,” a one-day conference organized by New York University’s Development Research Institute and featuring scholars on both sides of fierce debates on the way forward for the global War on Poverty, will take place Thurs., March 22, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Cooper Union’s Great Hall (7 East 7th St. [at Cooper Square]).

Andrew Rugasira, founder and chairman of Good African Coffee, will deliver the keynote address, “Finding Answers in the Global Market” (2-3 p.m.).

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required by clicking here. For more information, call 212.992.7485 or email (Subways: 6, Astor Place; N, R, 8th Street). Photo ID required for entry.

Reporters interested in attending the event must RSVP to Laura Freschi at or 212.992.7491.

In 2003, Rugasira began training farmers to grow high-quality coffee in the Rwenzori Mountains in Western Uganda. By operating a roasting and packaging facility in Kampala, Rugasira and the small, independent farmers in his network keep more of the value added than average exporters of agricultural products. Today, his network includes 14,000 farmers and his Good African Coffee is sold in supermarkets throughout the UK and online in the US. His keynote speech will elaborate on the home-grown efforts of African entrepreneurs to reap the fruits of globalization and improve the livelihoods of their own people.

MIT Professors Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo will present their new experimental approach to fighting poverty, featured in their best-selling new book, Poor Economics. They will face their fiercest critic in Angus Deaton of Princeton in the session “Searching for Answers with Randomized Experiments” (10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.).

Professors William Easterly and Yaw Nyarko, co-directors of DRI, will deliver the conference’s opening remarks (10-10:45 a.m.). The final session will be “Development Goals, Evaluation, and Learning from Projects in Africa” (3:30-5 p.m.). A complete schedule of sessions and speakers may be found here.

The Development Research Institute (DRI) is devoted to rigorous, scholarly research on the economic development and growth of poor countries. An independent and non-partisan organization, DRI builds upon a foundation of academic research comparing aid agency practices and surveying the thinking behind aid projects. For more, go to

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.