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Speaker Events - Friday, January 11, 2008

The Bottom Billion and the Conflict Trap: A Discussion with Paul Collier

The International Peace Institute, in cooperation with the Peacebuilding Support Office, held a policy discussion on poverty and conflict with economist Paul Collier, director of the Center for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University.

Collier's recently published book, The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It, explores the links between poverty and violent conflict in about fifty of the world's failing states (the so-called "bottom billion"). He proposes a set of guidelines for donor nations, postconflict governments, and international organizations aimed at solving problems that defy traditional approaches to poverty alleviation.

Participants discussed the feasibility of Collier's proposals, and whether the UN Peacebuilding Commission was the appropriate forum to advance such an agenda.

Collier was introduced by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, and Ms. Carolyn McAskie, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, offered closing remarks. The panel was chaired by Michael W. Doyle, IPI board member and Harold Brown Professor at Columbia University in the School of International and Public Affairs and Columbia Law School.

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