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Development Center to Offer Grad Student Fellowships

Legatum, a private investment firm with an interest in sustainable development, gave MIT a $50 million structured gift to create the new Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship, according an MIT press release. The LCDE hopes to offer a fellowship program for graduate students, starting in the 2008–2009 academic year and to “create a platform for sustainable development,” according to the center’s Web site.

The Legatum Center, which was announced on Sept. 17, will also offer debates, forums, seminars, and visiting scholars on a variety of business topics.

“We hope that over time the Legatum Fellows will be considered among the business leaders of the developing world,” said Legatum President Mark Stoleson in an LCDE press release.

Michael F. Maltese, lecturer for LCDE, said that the center is looking to expand by working with MIT’s existing academic and extracurricular programs. A cooperation would help in “promoting bottom-up economic development in poor countries through entrepreneurship,” Maltese said in an e-mail.

Maltese also said that Legatum was inspired by the work of Iqbal Z. Quadir, who is now the executive director and senior lecturer of LCDE, in creating the center.

“[Quadir’s] work in creating Grameenphone” — a cellular service for the developing world — “served as the inspiration for this extraordinary gift,” Maltese said in an e-mail.

According to Maltese, the majority of the $50 million donation is going to be used for the fellowship program.

The Legatum Fellowship applications for the next academic year are now available online. Both current MIT graduate students and those who have applied for admission to a graduate degree program at MIT are eligible to apply. For application and more information, visit http://www.lcde.org/.

—JiHye Kim