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Risk, investment, and helping the poor
That global corporations can (and in fact must) be the solution to alleviating poverty around the world is the optimistic and radical thesis of Alleviating Poverty through Profitable Partnerships: Globalization, Markets and Economic Well-Being (Routledge, 2010). SCU’s Dennis Moberg, the Gerald and Bonita A. Wilkinson Professor of Management, teams up with scholars Patricia H. Werhane, Scott P. Kelley, and Laura P. Hartman, to provide compelling, specific cases of how to reconfigure morals and economics—from a stove design partnership in Guatemala to teenage bankers in India to Nike’s microfinancing efforts in Vietnam. The emphasis is on “profitable partnerships with the poor for mutual gain,” not philanthropy or charity. The moral imperative for alleviating poverty is clear; but Moberg et al. argue that it makes business sense for corporations looking for a sustainable and profitable future. Getting the world’s poor—somewhere between 2 to 4 billion people— out of dire circumstances involves risk, but this rethinking of both business practices and assistance is a necessity in our changing world.Lisa Taggart
Close to Home
For many folks at Santa Clara, the story that Assistant Professor of Communication Mike Whalen ’89 brings to the screen in A Christmas in Tent City is heartbreakingly familiar. The short documentary draws on the experiences of Roberto and Francisco Jiménez ’66, whose parents led them across the border from Mexico to California when they were young boys. The family dreamed of a better life and streets paved with gold; when they arrived, they lived in tents in squalid migrant labor camps, and the boys spent their childhood picking cotton, strawberries, and grapes. Francisco Jiménez recounts the experiences in The Circuit, a volume of autobiographical short stories first published in 1997. Whalen’s film draws on the book, following the lives of both men, and weaves its tale through voice-overs and interviews, interspersed with illustrations. “I want people to understand what happens to families when they are torn apart from each other, forced to live in poverty, and treated as disposable commodities,” Whalen says.
The first of what Whalen hopes will be a series of films based on Jiménez’s life story, A Christmas in Tent City premiered last year at San Jose’s Cinequest Film Festival and has been honored with the Broadcast Education Association’s Award of Excellence, an Accolade Award, and other prizes. The final documentary will combine seven stories and interviews with other experts about the migrant worker experience.
Francisco Jiménez is now the Fay Boyle Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures at SCU. In October 2009 he was presented with a special honor by Emilio González Márquez, the governor of Mexico’s Jalisco state: a new, one-volume edition of The Circuit and Breaking Through, his first two collections of autobiographical fictions that has been published by the government of Jalisco. The ceremony took place at the Adobe Lodge. “This honor is not about me,” Jiménez said. “It is, in a sense, honoring all immigrants who come to the United States to seek a better life for their children and their children’s children.”MB