Development in Transition


Dear Con­fer­ence Participant,

We are delighted to have you join us for the 2014 Inter­na­tional Devel­op­ment Con­fer­ence at Har­vard Uni­ver­sity.

The Inter­na­tional Devel­op­ment Con­fer­ence is ded­i­cated to fos­ter­ing and spark­ing new dia­logue between lead­ing aca­d­e­mics, prac­ti­tion­ers, pol­icy mak­ers and stu­dents con­cerned with cre­at­ing a bet­ter world. This year’s con­fer­ence promises to be a par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant event as the 20th anniver­sary of the longest run­ning and largest stu­dent con­fer­ence at the Har­vard Kennedy School. This year’s con­fer­ence will there­fore look both ret­ro­spec­tively at the last twenty years, and impor­tantly, for­ward to the next twenty years.

We have titled this year’s con­fer­ence The Wrong Way? Forg­ing New Paths for Devel­op­ment. Over the course of the two days of the con­fer­ence, we will exam­ine the global forces that are dis­rupt­ing tra­di­tional mod­els of devel­op­ment, and how new orga­ni­za­tions and inno­va­tions are redefin­ing, redesign­ing, and find­ing new evi­dence for suc­cess­ful devel­op­ment. We will focus on four sets of discussions:

THE WRONG WAY?: We are now rec­og­niz­ing that there is no uni­ver­sally “right” or “wrong” way to fos­ter suc­cess­ful eco­nomic, polit­i­cal, and social devel­op­ment. What have been the goals of “devel­op­ment” in the past, how have our assump­tions changed, and what are the new paths being forged for the next decades?

REDESIGNING DEVELOPMENT PRACTICE: Evolv­ing devel­op­ment goals, new market-driven approaches, and the blur­ring of tra­di­tional bound­aries between the pri­vate, pub­lic, and social sec­tors are fun­da­men­tally redesign­ing devel­op­ment prac­tice. How has devel­op­ment prac­tice been trans­formed and can it rise to meet tomorrow’s challenges?

BUILDING EMPOWERED AND SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES: Much of the empha­sis in devel­op­ment has focused on com­mu­nity build­ing in pol­icy areas such as health, edu­ca­tion, youth, women, and the envi­ron­ment. What are the chal­lenges that per­sist, and the inno­va­tions emerg­ing on the ground in these tra­di­tional pol­icy areas?

DRIVING CONSTANT LEARNING: The rev­o­lu­tions in data and tech­nol­ogy are fun­da­men­tally redefin­ing devel­op­ment prac­tice and the mea­sure­ment of suc­cess. What are the oppor­tu­ni­ties and pit­falls of these advances, and how do we inte­grate them into pol­icy design and implementation?

We hope you can join us for an excit­ing con­fer­ence, and look for­ward to see­ing you.

Best regards,

Irene Chung and Sek-loong Tan
IDC Co-Chairs