The Global Economy and Development program at Brookings hosted the inaugural meeting of its Global Young Professionals Program on February 27 at 6:30 p.m., featuring Matt Flannery, CEO and co-founder of Kiva.org, the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending Web site.
The briefing was intended for young professionals — the next generation of leaders — in the fields of global economics and development. Through the program, Brookings Global will provide a platform for emerging leaders in their 20s, 30s, and 40s to network and explore professional connections within the deep reservoir of capacity at Brookings to influence and shape current policy debates.
Featured speaker Matt Flannery co-founded the non-profit Kiva.org, a microlending site, in 2004. Kiva operates on a people-to-people model, allowing private individuals to make loans to borrowers seeking to establish small businesses in developing countries. Matt began developing Kiva.org with his wife Jessica in late 2004 as a side-project while working as a computer programmer at TiVo, Inc. In December 2005 Matt left his job to devote himself to Kiva.org full-time. As CEO, Matt has led Kiva.org’s growth from a pilot project to an established online service with partnerships across the globe and millions in dollars loaned to low income entrepreneurs.
Matt is a Draper Richards Fellow and a featured blogger on the Skoll Foundation’s Social Edge website. He graduated with a BS in symbolic systems and a Masters in analytical philosophy from Stanford University. Matt and Kiva have been featured by numerous media, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, NPR, The Economist, Smithsonian Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Read Matt’s blog “The Kiva Chronicles” on Social Edge.
A networking reception followed the presentation and discussion.