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Foreign aid is the subject of debate Add to ...

pbest@globeandmail.com

Gold mogul Peter Munk's wildly successful public debate series, held in Toronto twice a year, has unveiled details of the June 1 instalment. Four high-profile experts on foreign aid will share the stage at the Royal Ontario Museum that evening.

They are Paul Collier, a professor of economics and director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University; Canada's former UN envoy Stephen Lewis, now a professor of global health at McMaster University in Hamilton; Peruvian economist and former Nobel Prize finalist Hernando de Soto, of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Lima (which the Economist calls one of the two most important think tanks in the world); and Dambisa Moyo, a former economist with Goldman Sachs in London.

The latter two will debate the "pro" side of the proposition that foreign aid to developing countries does more harm than good; the first two will argue against it.

Dr. Moyo may not be a familiar name to many people. Zambian-born, she has a degree in chemistry, an MBA in finance from American University, a master's from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and a PhD in economics from Oxford. Author of a new and provocative best-seller, Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa, she has been called the anti-Bono by The New York Times - though we don't know whether she sings.

100 YEARS AND COUNTING

Leon's Furniture is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and is crowing about the fact that it is one of only a handful of Canadian businesses to hit the century mark - and still be run by the family that founded it and holds the majority of publicly traded shares.

Tapping into the Zeitgeist, the publicity bumpf emphasizes that Leon's is debt-free, not normally a trait worth mentioning while the cake is being cut and the balloons are being popped. "Leon's has not only survived every recession and economic downturn of the past century but the Great Depression, too," the company says.

CEO Terry Leon, grandson of founder Ablan Leon, is touring Leon's stores across the country announcing local partnerships with non-profit groups (100 hours of staff time per store) and making donations of merchandise to local hospitals and Boys and Girls Clubs.

 

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