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Development fair to showcase world of opportunities on Oct. 3

Students who might be interested in fostering development in a sustainable way in different parts of the world will have a chance to sample a wide range of opportunities this week at MIT's seventh annual International Development Fair.

The fair takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, in Lobby 13. Patricia Weinmann, associate coordinator of MIT's Technology and Culture Forum, which co-sponsors the event, says that "this exciting event introduces incoming students and other members of the MIT community to the many student groups, classes, centers, programs and academic departments at MIT who, through their activities, have demonstrated an interest in sustainable international development."

The fair is a way for incoming and continuing MIT students to learn about ways that they can become engaged in international development through student groups, nonprofit organizations, or academic course offerings in and around MIT campus. More than four dozen groups and organizations of all types set up booths around Lobby 13 to display their development projects and reach out to interested students.

The annual event is organized by the MIT International Development Network (IDN), which promotes and shares information about activities, programs, events and formal academic offerings related to international development. In addition to the Technology and Culture Forum, it is sponsored by the MIT Public Service Center, the Edgerton Center, the International Development Initiative, the Program in Developmental Entrepreneurship, the office of the Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and the office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming.

The fair "celebrates and supports engaging in international development MIT-style, learning-by-doing," says Joost Bonsen, a lecturer in the Media Lab who co-teaches a course called "Development Ventures." "We first started the International Development Fair in 2002 to help everyone at MIT interested in development meet one another and make the most of the rich opportunities at the Institute. Students find out about classes to take, clubs to join, fellowships to apply for, events to attend, and people to team up with to pursue compelling projects."

In addition to the fair, the group publishes an annual booklet describing the many different groups, activities and courses featured there. The guide will be posted at

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 1, 2008 (download PDF).

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