Colorado State University Signs Historic Agreement with Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Peru

Note to Editors: Photos of Hernando de Soto can be found with the press release at

Administrators with Colorado State University and the Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Lima, Peru, recently signed an International Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on research and conferences and provide student internship opportunities via Colorado State’s College of Business.

The Institute for Liberty and Democracy is an internationally respected, non-profit think-tank that observes the genesis and effects of exclusion of the poor in the developing world. Hernando de Soto, president of the institute and a Nobel Prize finalist, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at Colorado State in Fall 2006.

This is the institute’s first partnership with a major U.S. research university. The link between the two institutions will directly help people in the developing world move out of poverty based on new models of private enterprise and collaboration.

DeSoto has led the charge to formalize property rights for the poor. The Colorado State College of Business has received international attention for its new program, which focuses on building sustainable enterprises that help improve the lives of the poor and the health of the environment.

"Dr. de Soto’s work to study the needs of the working poor in the developing world coincides with Colorado State University’s desire to find practical, affordable solutions to some of the globe’s most pressing problems," said Tony Frank, provost and senior executive vice president at Colorado State. "We have many shared objectives with a major goal of providing new and challenging learning opportunities for our students."

The new partnership will help students enrolled in the College of Business’ new Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise Master of Science program, which teaches students entrepreneurial, sustainable approaches to address great global challenges such as poverty, health and the environment. The program ultimately could help some of the world’s four billion people who live on less than $3 a day with creating their own sustainable solutions and businesses.

"CSU’s new program is fantastic," de Soto said. "Educating students on how to use private enterprise to address global economic development challenges is both important and exciting. The real-world project experience this program offers will help make its graduates valuable contributors to global society."

"Our students enrolled in this graduate program are learning to create sustainable international business development opportunities with a triple bottom-line impact: improving the lives of people and addressing key environmental challenges while building enterprises that are keen on solid financials and profitability," said Ajay Menon, dean of the College of Business. "A partnership with the Institute for Liberty and Democracy will help those students get even closer to the people they’re trying to assist."

Joining Frank and Menon in Peru were Jim Cooney, vice provost of International Programs; Paul Hudnut, faculty member in the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise master’s program; and David Neenan, an advisory board member for the master’s program.

Details of the agreement include:

– CSU students will be eligible to apply for internships at the institute; graduates of the Global Social and Sustainable master’s program will be eligible to apply for professional positions within the institute.

– CSU will establish graduate scholarship funding for up to two students annually.

– Senior institute staff will be available to teach seminars to CSU students.

– Faculty at the two institutions will collaborate on curriculum and applied research; they will jointly sponsor an annual conference focused on critical topics addressing the alleviation of poverty. Hernando de Soto will be a featured speaker at the annual conference.

About Colorado State University’s internationalization efforts

As part of its strategic plan, Colorado State is committed to growing areas of study that address global challenges and creating international partnerships to face those challenges. The university has sought like-minded institutions that share its vision and values for higher education in areas such as China, Argentina, Chile and Mexico. In February, a national education organization recognized Colorado State University as one of eight U.S. colleges or universities with highly successful campus internationalization efforts.

Additionally, the Colleges of Business and Engineering together run the Global Innovation Center for Energy, Health and the Environment. The center helps license technological advancements developed in Colorado State’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory to address key global problems, including the health and welfare of the developing world. The Global Innovation Center focuses on the developing world’s chronic environmental needs that often do not capture the attention of relief organizations.

About the Institute for Liberty and Democracy

The Institute for Liberty and Democracy has been recognized internationally for economic reforms to help poor, developing nations. Walking the streets and the rural byways of local shantytowns, they identify – and measure – the assets and vast potential of the poor, the legal obstacles that keep them outside the rule of law and the extralegal practices they resort to in order to do business and protect their belongings. The findings are organized into archetypes that become the building blocks of reform.

De Soto is the former governor of Peru’s Central Reserve Bank and a member of the World Commission on the Global Dimension of Globalization. He is the recipient of several major international awards including the 2004 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, Cato Institute; the CARE Humanitarian Award; and the Templeton Freedom Prize. For more information about the institute, go to