Speaker: Jake Harriman

Eradicating Rural Poverty in Africa

Jake Harriman graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served over 7 years in the U.S. Marine Corps as a platoon commander and led four operational deployments throughout Southwest Asia/Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia, while being awarded the Bronze Star for actions in combat during his second tour in Iraq.

Along the way, though, he had a change of heart. ""We were on Highway 7 awaiting resupply. I heard a vehicle rapidly approaching. We fired warning shots. The driver, a gaunt Iraqi, jumped out and ran towards us, waving his arms. As I raised my weapon a military vehicle stopped behind the man’s car. Six men jumped out and began spraying his car with bullets. The Iraqi man stopped, screamed, and began sprinting back toward his car. It was then I realized what was happening."

"Southern Iraq was a desperately poor region. Iraqi Special Forces had been coercing poor farmers to fight Americans, promising they would feed and educate their children if the farmer picked up a weapon. I had no doubt this man was one of those poor farmers. Yet instead of fighting, he was trying to escape across our lines to safety. By the time we got to the car it was too late. His wife lay slumped over dead on the passenger seat, his baby girl had been shot, and he was cradling his six- year-old daughter who was choking on her own blood. I put myself in his shoes. I thought, ‘I live in a world of choices. But what choices did this man have?’ Something awoke inside of me. That day, I vowed to devote my life to giving people choices and hope where none previously existed."

Such experiences convinced him to use his skills to wage a more constructive "war on poverty". He left the Marine Corps and enrolled at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) to build an organization that could eradicate extreme poverty in rural areas around the world. Today, Nuru International has impacted thousand of lives from Kenya to Ethiopia.

Join us to listen to this remarkable tale of personal transformation that is changing the world in remarkable ways.

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