International Development Conference


February 9th 2019



To dive into the ‘currents’ of development- that is, to explore the contemporary streams within international development- one must first understand the field’s active nature. In an ever-changing global landscape, development responses are continuously shaped by economic systems, political conflict, environmental crisis, sociocultural issues. We are not only witness to these changes on the development field, but also to the recurrence, resurgence, and exacerbation of these issues. Why are these issues continuing to recur? It is key to understand which ongoing development responses are working, and which are failing, and most importantly, why?

Thematic Discussions


Development in Conflict Zones


Half-Empty or Half-Full? : Diving deeper into Water Security


Global Citizenship Discourse and Development


The Future of Development: Where do we go from here?  


Currently, many countries are experiencing international and civil conflicts where many lives have been taken and millions of people have been displaced from their homes, and now live as refugees. The development of countries with ongoing armed conflict has been halted or destroyed by such strife and the people fleeing as refugees are stuck in harsh and uncertain circumstances and futures. This panel will explore development practice through the humanitarian responses to the crisis in the world’s conflict zones including refugee settlements. Should development, security, and diplomacy even be intertwined?


Water is a naturally bountiful resource that we, our livelihoods, ecosystems, and industries are dependent on but yet, many communities and individuals around the world face such barriers to the access of clean and potable water. This panel aims to discuss how climate change, growing populations, industrial and urban development are amplifying water security issues in our global water crisis.  What is being done to address and tackle water security in a sustainable way? Not only is water necessary for life on earth, but it is essential for food security, economic livelihood, sanitation, and health; this panel aims to understand and challenge the extent of these relationships in order to truly come to terms with the impact of water insecurity. This panel will also ask why this is a recurring problem that has been in the development agenda for decades but yet many communities are still marginalized from water access.


Though the world is more interconnected than ever before, it’s still far too simple to feel isolated from major issues and those impacted that perhaps do not directly affect our lives. To help bridge the persisting gaps that separate today’s world - including issues of race, gender, and class - those seeking to instill social justice values and ideas of global unity have strategically turned to the mobilization of youth as advocates for ‘Global Citizenship’. In this panel, we will address topics including positionality, privilege, the merits of mobilizing youth for social change and whether or not the notion of ‘Global Citizens’, that cares not is feasible or just another development pipe dream.


As a field that is constantly evolving within and adapting to current global conditions, international development must therefore continually be producing new solutions and ideas on improving people's’ livelihoods. However, anyone that has studied international development can attest that there is seldom anything more frustrating than having an abundance of theoretical concepts at their fingertips along with an absence of practical solutions. Too often we hear (and ask), “what does development look like?”; “what are our roles in it?”; and “where can I actually begin?”. The aim of this thematic discussion is to challenge the traditional deliverance of conferences and instead take a more ‘TEDx’ style approach, hearing from a diverse group of selected students, faculty, community members, and practitioners alike on their own unique development initiatives.



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