CGI U 2013 at Washington University in St. Louis

Sherraden to lead panel discussion at Clinton Global Initiative University

Michael Sherraden

Michael Sherraden, PhD, the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, will be among a distinguished list of speakers for the sixth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) to be held at Washington University in St. Louis April 5-7.

The announcement was made by President Bill Clinton and by Chelsea Clinton.

“It’s an honor to represent the Washington University in St. Louis faculty at the Clinton Global Initiative University,” Sherraden says. “WUSTL faculty are leaders in social innovation. CGI U could not be in a better place.”

CGI U will bring together more than 1,000 college students with innovators, thought leaders, and civically engaged celebrities to make Commitments to Action to address the most pressing challenges facing their campuses and communities in areas such as education, environment and climate change, human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.

In asking Sherraden to lead a working session on poverty, organizers have enlisted one of the most innovative thinkers of the last 25 years. Sherraden is founder and director of the Brown School’s Center for Social Development (CSD) and is known for his pioneering work on asset building for low-income people.

His 1991 book, Assets and the Poor: A New American Welfare Policy, proposed establishing for the poor individual savings accounts — also known as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). His program calls for the government and private sector to match individual contributions to IDAs as a means of encouraging savings and breaking the cycle of poverty. IDAs have been adopted at the federal level and in more than 40 states.

President Clinton mentioned IDAs in his 1999 State of the Union Address, and a much larger program for universal retirement savings in his 2000 State of the Union Address. In 2010,Time Magazine named Sherraden to its “Time 100,” the publication’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Sherraden has been at the Brown School since 1979, where he has mentored graduate students and younger faculty.

“The Brown School is a special place committed to moving things forward in the world,” Sherraden says. “I am particularly excited about our young faculty, who are designing and testing social innovations in areas that matter, such as positive child and youth development, ownership of assets for educational attainment and improved health, civic service opportunities, adaptation to environmental changes, decareration of America’s prisons, financial capability for all Americans, and productive engagement of older adults.

“These initiatives are all supported in one way or another by the Center for Social Development,” he says. “The younger faculty are enormously capable. They will continue to expand the impact of the Brown School.”

At CGI U, Sherraden will lead a working session and panel discussion on “Poverty and Promise in America’s Rust Belt.”

He joins such notable speakers as Chelsea Clinton, board member, William J. Clinton Foundation; Stephen Colbert, host and executive producer of “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central; Hawa Abdi Diblawe, founder, the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation; Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO, Square, Inc.; co-founder and executive chairman, Twitter, Inc.; Salman Khan, founder and executive director, Khan Academy; Jada Pinkett Smith, actress and advocate, Don’t Sell Bodies; and Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, chairman, the Yunus Centre and founder, Grameen Bank.