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Peter Eigen to address government corruption and transparency issues

ATHENS, Ohio (April 24, 2007) -- Transparency International founder and chairman Peter Eigen will speak at Ohio University at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 26, in Baker University Center Ballroom A.

During his talk, Eigen will explain how corruption is becoming increasingly worldwide in its consequences.

"Corruption is the greatest stumbling block to development -- it leads to poverty, conflict and destruction," Eigen said.

Transparency International, based in Berlin, Germany, is a global anticorruption watchdog organization that promotes transparency and accountability in the globalized economy, contributing to sustainable development. Founded in 1993, TI supports national chapters in more than 100 countries.

One of the interesting tools that TI has created is the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. The index ranks countries in terms of the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among its public officials and politicians. In the 2006 index, Finland, Iceland and New Zealand tied for the highest CPI score of 9.6, while Guinea, Iraq, Myanmar (1.9) and Haiti (1.8) scored the lowest. The United States tied for 20th among the 163 countries listed with a CPI score of 7.3.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, an initiative under TI, focuses on exposing the money trail from these industries. By requiring the transparency of payments from oil, gas and mining companies to local governments, EITI is encouraging good governance and making sure citizens benefit from their local land's natural resources. 

Eigen said Botswana is an example of what good governance can do. The country has experienced rapid growth and development because of its well-managed mining industry. He also credits Ghana and Nigeria for progress toward making revenue transparency mandatory. 

"Dr. Eigen is a person who has dedicated his life to stopping corruption in order to improve the quality of life for people in underprivileged societies," said College of Business Executive in Residence Beatrice Selotlegeng. "His passion is to impact the world globally by promoting transparency and accountability -- things that all governments, universities, organizations and businesses should be practicing."

Eigen, an attorney by trade, worked in economic development for 25 years at the World Bank in both Africa and Latin America. He has served as an educator at the University of Frankfurt, Georgetown University and Harvard University and has worked as a visiting scholar for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace while working at John Hopkins University. In 2004, he won the 2004 Reader's Digest "European of the Year" award.

During his visit, Eigen will also meet with Ohio students, staff and faculty. The lecture is sponsored by the College of Business, Center for International Studies and the Kennedy Lecture Series.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy, 740-597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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