Millennium Campus Middlebury Institute is First Graduate School in US to Earn Fair Trade Certification!

Millennium Campus Middlebury Institute is First Graduate School in US to Earn Fair Trade Certification!!

Calling it a “momentous achievement,” Fair Trade USA recently designated the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey as the first graduate school in the nation to be certified as a Fair Trade University.

“Fair trade” is generally defined as trade in which fair prices are paid to producers in developing countries—e.g. prices that will both support equitable wages and provide sufficient margin to generate capital for future reinvestment. In order to be certified as a fair trade institution, the Institute had to complete a process outlined by Fair Trade USA, one of several certifying entities. The process includes forming a team, auditing current practices across the organization, sourcing a minimum number of fair trade products, participating in fair trade education, and issuing a resolution.

“Fair trade is about meeting specific standards,” explains Celina Lima MBA/MAIPD ’18, who led a team of students and staff who worked to secure the Institute’s certification over the past eight months. “It’s a way to make sure the people producing the product are getting paid fairly for the work they’re doing, and have the opportunity to reinvest in their community.” With a smile, Lima notes while reviewing the requirements for certification that “MIIS was already doing all of these things – we just had to connect the dots.”

Lima adds that the Center for Social Impact Learning was “instrumental” in the Institute’s efforts to secure fair trade certification, supporting the initiative and helping to connect Lima and others with key officials at Fair Trade USA. The team’s efforts also led to collaboration with the campus Sustainability Council, including planning events for the upcoming Earth Week celebration. The team’s efforts were first showcased on December at a Pop-Up Market sponsored by CSIL that featured a number of fair trade vendors and a fair trade booth as part of the initiative’s educational efforts.

“The fact that students led the drive to achieve fair trade certification for the Institute underscores what makes this school so unique,” points out Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Institute Jeff Dayton-Johnson. “Our programs are designed to give students the skills and tools to make a difference from day one, and they often prove this out by achieving remarkable results before they even graduate.”

“It means everything to me to have MIIS be the first certified fair trade graduate school in the country,” concludes Lima. “This school has been such a leader in the whole area of sustainability and social impact investing. To me, this shows that we’re committed to looking at multiple ways of addressing problems, supporting developing economies with both aid and trade. I think fair trade embodies everything that MIIS stands for.”

MCN Alumni Highlight: Meet Toby Norman!

 

Special MCN Profile:

Toby Norman, CEO, Simprints

In this special feature, we interview MCN alumnus Toby Norman.  Toby is the CEO of Simprints, a Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Fellow, and most recently named a 2017 Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year at just 28 years old!  Read on to learn more about Toby's work and drive.

 

 

1) Why have you committed your life to social impact?

Two reasons. First, the random lottery of birth gave me access to incredible privilege and opportunity. Purely by chance. Had I been born in a different part of the world to different circumstances, my access to health, education, work, and security right now would be fundamentally different. Not to mention my chance of surviving to this age at all. That’s the inequality and injustice that social impact careers can fight.

 

The second reason honestly is the people. Social impact work is hard. You often face huge obstacles with limited resources, and there are plenty of days where the frustration seems overwhelming. But I’m incredibly lucky to work with an amazing group of people. They are what keep me going, the reason I come to work every morning. In the uncertain early days when I was deciding between job offers at McKinsey & BCG versus continuing with this absurd start-up idea, it was thinking about my team that made that decision for me.  

 

2) What concrete impact has Simprints had to date?  What do you anticipate it accomplishing in the next five years?

At Simprints (www.simprints.com), we partner with leading nonprofits and governments to make sure their work is truly reaching the poorest of the poor. We leverage technology to help us do that, specifically using biometrics coupled with mobile health, education, or aid platforms. Our work means that a health worker in the poorest slum in Bangladesh can access a child’s vaccine records at the touch of a finger, or an aid worker can prove that emergency relief is reaching real beneficiaries. For example, our projects with BRAC in Bangladesh are right now reaching 22,000 mothers and children with better health services, or improving health surveillance for 50,000 patients with Possible and the Ministry of Health in Nepal. It’s been recognized by UNICEF + TechCrunch’s “Best Tech: Changing Children’s Lives for Good Award” and coverage in BloombergThe EconomistThe Wall Street Journal, and the World Economic Forum. Our goal over the next five years is to radically disrupt the inaccurate way we currently track and deliver progress towards the SDGs, and instead build a world where every person—not guesswork—actually counts in the fight against poverty.

 

3) What did you do as an undergraduate to prepare for this work?

While studying biology and anthropology as an undergrad was useful, the real value of my time at Harvard was what I did outside of the classroom. Working with MCN was a huge part of that journey. I learned about the key challenges in global health & development, met students who shared my passion, and got inspired by leading thinkers in this field. Starting a student group that eventually became part of the MCN community also taught be a huge amount about leadership, a set of skills I use every day now as the CEO of a tech company. Through MCN, I learned the power of strategic networking - recognizing that organizations can share resources and skills to maximize their respective social impact. I’d strongly encourage students thinking about a career in this space to get engaged, and leverage what you learn through conversations, talks, and conferences to actually take action. You’ll screw up frequently—I did, and still do—but you’ll start learning the problem solving skills needed to take on these global challenges.

 

About Toby Norman:

Toby Norman is the CEO of Simprints, a nonprofit tech startup backed by USAID, DFID, and the Gates Foundation to develop low-cost mobile biometric scanners to improve patient identification in developing countries. A Round IV Saving Lives at Birth Winner and Business Weekly's 2015 Startup of the year, Simprints develops hardware and open-source software that integrates safe, simple identification into existing mobile tools. Our goal is to radically disrupt the inaccurate way we currently track and deliver progress towards the SDGs, and instead build a world where every person—not guesswork—actually counts in the fight against poverty.

Toby holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge on a Gates Scholarship and BA from Harvard. He has worked for nearly a decade with doctors and healthworkers across Africa, Asia, and Central America on initiatives to improve healthcare delivery through technology. In 2016 he was listed among the Forbes Europe 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs.  He is a proud MCN alumnus. 

 

Final Fellowship Pitchfest!

It is with great excitement (and truthfully, a little sadness) that we announce that our 2017 Millennium Fellowship has officially come to an end!!

This past week our amazing Fellows from both the Boston and Miami MCN Hub-sites completed the 2017 Millennium Fellowship program. It is with great honor that we congratulate all of our Fellows for the tremendous amount of work and time each member committed over the course of the past few months. The conversations fostered within the individual teams, hub-site meeting discussions, and panels with outside guest speakers made this Fellowship session truly inspirational.

2017 Boston Fellows: Grace Lee, Shawn Mozeika, Sarah Khmijee, Khushee Nanavati, Valeria Al-Khatib, Taylor Garner, Christian de la Cruz, Tyler Godfroy, Maria Grant, Debbie-lee Baskir, Sandrah Nanziri, Joey Milici, James Purdy, Malavika Madan, Monika Rodiqi

2017 Miami Fellows: Martine Domond, Aris Lorenzo, Jovan Wint, Janai Thermitus, Jhoanna Jimenez, Matias Solari, Eugenia Bouzas, Riane Roldan, Kiana Vidal, Laurene Sanon, Krystal Lanier, Teja Bollepalli, Rhea Manohar, Justin Randolph

 

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Boston Pitchfest

Boston Pitchfest Judges: Eleanor Joseph, Justin Kang, Mark Weber, Netia McCray

First Place Winner: Bentley Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Center, Bentley University  - Led by James Purdy and Joey Milici

Second Place Winner: Challah for Hunger, Brandeis University - Led by Debbie-Lee Baskir

Third Place Winner: GlobeMed, Northeastern University - Led by Grace Lee and Shawn Mozeika

 

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Miami Pitchfest

Miami Pitchfest Judges: Matt HaggmanCarolina Pina, Natalia Martinez-Kalinina, Rebecca Fishman-Lipsey

First Place Winner: Healthy U, Healthy Me, University of Miami - Led by Rhea Manohar and Teja Bollepalli

Second Place Winner: Knights of the Roundtable, Lynn University - Led by Jhoanna Jimenez, Eugenia Bouzas, and Matias Solari

Third Place Winner: Pangea, Miami Dade College North - Led by Jovan Wint, Aris Lorenzo, Laurene Sanon, and Janai Thermitus

 

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We wish all of our Fellows the best in their future academic and professional endeavors and welcome them warmly into the MCN Alumni Community!! Make sure to check out their individual profiles on our website - the future is so bright for each of them! 

MCN Boston Fellow Highlight: Meet Valeria Al-Khatib!

MCN Boston Fellow Highlight: Meet Valeria Al-Khatib!

valeria.jpg

I always knew I had a passion for social impact and advocacy, but I never knew just how strong these goals were. Since I began college I engaged on a wide variety of campus activities that ultimately strengthened my goals to work for social impact. Not too long after this realization I found an opportunity to begin my work through Amnesty International. I started a chapter of Amnesty at my university hoping to get other students who were passionate about social impact like me interested in human right advocacy. 

As an Amnesty chapter, our main concern is to protect human rights to the best of our ability wether that be abroad or at home. In our chapter we have focused a lot on the rights of refuges and undocumented immigrants since it has been a very relevant topic in the last few months. Our main purpose is to educate our community so that we can all work together to protect the rights of those that are in need of protection. Ultimately, my goal is to pursue a career where I can advocate for those that need it. It is my hope to gain the necessary knowledge, education and means to serve as a defender of human rights and moral legislation. My long term goal is to go to law school wherein I will be able to gain the skills necessary to do the above mentioned.  MCN has helped me in this through allowing me to grow my network connections and develop professionally. MCN has opened my eyes to see just how many ways there are in which I can become more involved in social impact.

Oceans Campaign Update: Pitch Presentations!

During the first week of March, the Clean Street, Clean Sea campaign applied to a challenge named Innov'Pap, organized by a local youth group. It was selected among the best initiatives.

On Saturday March 18, Clean Street Clean Sea presented a two-minute pitch and connected with two keys enterprises, HaiPlast & Recycling SA and CEDEL Haiti. The first is a local enterprise involving in the waste management sector, particularly plastic; and the second is a social enterprise that supports entrepreneurship in Haiti.