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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 15, 2007

Microfinance For Women In India Focus Of Feb. 19 International Mondays

Edwin Brands, adjunct assistant professor in the University of Iowa Department of Geography, will present "Microfinance for Women-Run Enterprises: A Study Abroad Experience" at the next International Mondays lecture. He will speak from noon to 1 p.m., Monday, Feb. 19 in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library. Refreshments will be served, and the lecture is free and open to the public.

Brands, along with R. Rajagopal, a professor in the UI geography department, both in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, recently took a diverse group of 17 students to Tamil Nadu, a state in southeastern India, for an intensive course on microfinance and women-run enterprises. The students experienced face-to-face interaction with women participating in the growing movement of microfinance in India. Microfinance, the concept of assisting the enterprises of the poor through small loans, insurance products and health programs, has grown in the past few decades from experimental outreach programs to multi-billion dollar global programs. The UI course explored microfinance models and institutions as well as the economic, social, health, educational and environmental aspects and impacts of such operations.

Brands received his doctorate from the UI in 2004, and he is also currently an adjunct assistant professor in International Programs at the UI. He also works with the Iowa Geological Survey Bureau monitoring water. His previous international experience includes time spent in Germany and Ecuador. Brands has extensive experience working with environmental issues including water quality, agriculture and environmental justice.

UI International Programs, the Stanley Foundation and the Iowa City Public Library are sponsoring this International Mondays lecture.

For more information on this lecture, the International Mondays series or special accommodations to attend this lecture, contact Buffy Quintero, International Programs outreach coordinator, at 319-335-0345 or

International Programs enables UI students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all university constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the Office of the Provost.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Joe Nugent, 319-335-2026,; Program: Buffy Quintero, 319-335-0345,; Writer: Kate Casper.