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The sociologist Thomas Sowell writes, “We need to confront the most blatant fact that has persisted across centuries of social history—vast differences in productivity among peoples, and the economic and other consequences of such differences.” Poverty demeans dignity, shrinks the soul, wastes potential, and inflicts suffering on three billion people on our planet. We must also acknowledge that, during the past fifty years, the record in international assistance to the least developed countries has been disappointing; the economics-based abstractions developed in the think tanks of Europe and North America are insufficient.

In the River They Swim is the antithesis to that search for solutions the next big theory of global poverty. From the fresh perspective of advisors on the front lines of development to the insight of leaders like President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Pastor Rick Warren, it tells the story of change in the microcosms of emerging businesses, industries, and governments. These essays display a personal nature to their work that rigorous analysis alone cannot explain.

We learn that a Sufi master can teach us about the different levels of knowledge, the “different ways to know a river.” These practitioners could have written about its length, its source, its depth, its width, the power of its current, and the life it contains. They could have invested time and money to travel to that river so that they could sit on its shores and look at it, feel the sand that borders it, and watch the birds at play over it. Instead, they dove in to swim in the river, felt its current along their bodies, and tasted something of it. They wondered, briefly, if they had the strength to swim its length, and now they share the answer.

If human development is a river, the authors in this volume, and perhaps some readers, will no longer be satisfied to stand along its banks.

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Foreword: Fighting Poverty with Purpose / xi
Dr. Rick Warren

Acknowledgments / xvii
Introduction / 3

Part I: The Journey

1. The Backbone of a New Rwanda / 11
H. E. President Paul Kagame

2. Flight VS 56: Riding the Cultural Divide / 15
Malik Fal

3. A Space Alien in Chaps / 23
Anne Morriss

4. A Mind for the Poor / 28
Andreas Widmer

5. Waiting for Mr. Anderson / 35
Kenneth Hynes

6. My Faith in Capitalism / 40
Andreas Widmer

7. Nature Is Destiny, and the More Nature, the Worse the Destiny / 48
Sally Christie

8. Locomotives, Needles, and Aid / 55
Malik Fal

9. On Globalization / 66
Michael Fairbanks

10. The Merits of Change / 75
Luis Alberto Moreno

Part II: Strategies for Prosperity

11. Claver’s Wall / 83
Malik Fal

12. Leadership, in Context / 97
Ashraf Ghani

13. Selling Culture without Selling Out / 103
Marcela Escobari- Rose

14. The Afghan Method / 113
Diego Garcia Etcheto

15. Global Strategy in Old Kabul / 125
Robert Henning

16. After God, It’s Customer Relations / 134
Aref Adamali

17. The Longest Roundabout in the World / 140
David I. Rabkin

18. Alexander the Great, Mother Teresa, and Arse / 146
Michael Brennan

19. Archimedes’ Formidable Dare / 155
Eric Kacou

Part III: Globalization

20. On Presidents / 167
Michael Fairbanks

21. The Risk of Dreams / 177
David I. Rabkin

22. Praying to the Virgin of Guadalupe / 188
Marcela Escobari- Rose

23. Our Greatest Fear / 196
Michael Fairbanks and David I. Rabkin

24. Changing Mindsets / 205
Donald Kaberuka

25. Entire, unto Himself / 209
Elizabeth Hooper

26. “When Are You Coming Back?” / 218
Diego Garcia Etcheto

27. “That’s My Duck!” (The Case for Integration) / 227
by Michael Fairbanks

28. “Mr. President, Tear Down the Walls!” / 236
Kwang W. Kim

29. Deciding What Not to Do / 246
Eric Kacou

Epilogue / 255

List of Contributors / 257

Index / 261

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