As a director of the World Bank in Nairobi, Peter Eigen saw firsthand how devastating corruption can be. He's founder of Transparency International, an NGO that works to persuade international companies not to bribe.
From the website of Transparency International comes this elegant definition: What is corruption? Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It hurts everyone whose life, livelihood or happiness depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority.
Peter Eigen knows this. He worked in economic development for 25 years, mainly as a World Bank manager of programs in Africa and Latin America. Among his assignments, he served as director of the regional mission for Eastern Africa from 1988 to 1991. Stunned by the depth and pervasiveness -- and sheer destructiveness -- of the corruption he encountered, he formed the group Transparency International to take on some of the main players in deals with corrupt officials: multinational corporations.
Eigen believes that the best way to root out corruption is to make it known. Thus, Transparency International works to raises awareness of corruption, and takes practical action to address it, including public hearings.