Centre for Global Development

Events

Reflections on ‘The next ten years – and beyond’: Convergence or divergence in the study of politics, international relations and international development?

Blog post by Dr. Lata Narayanaswamy, POLIS

How do social scientists involved in multifarious research agendas negotiate disciplinary boundaries? How might we enable more effective collaboration between diverse and multi-level discourses and practice? How do we achieve shared aims of elevating social science understanding and engagement whilst simultaneously responding to the objectives set out in the Higher Education Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise?

These were some of the concerns that animated a recent event hosted by The School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at the University of Leeds to celebrate the re-opening of the Social Sciences Building after an extensive refurbishment. The heads of the Development Studies Association (DSA), the Political Studies Association (PSA) and the British International Studies Association (BISA) were all invited to share their reflections and insights on the possibilities and challenges their disciplines would confront over the next 10 years. It is the first time that the heads of these three associations have shared a platform, offering a unique opportunity to establish the basis for a productive, interdisciplinary dialogue.

In reflecting on the insights shared by each speaker, what is clear is that the answers to the questions set out above represent both opportunities and challenges. Perhaps most strikingly, what became clear by the end of all of the talks is that these disciplines have (and should!) be more critically engaged in recognizing and exploiting our commonalities rather than reinforcing our differences.

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This entry was posted in Development, Events, Politics.

Summer School participants blog about their experiences

Last month Centre for Global Development held its annual Summer School. The theme was The Post-2015 Agenda, and over four days we had an array of lectures, interactive workshops, simulations, debates, talks and presentations from University of Leeds lecturers, guest speakers, practitioners, activists – and 18 fantastic participants from different backgrounds and regions of the world. Three of our participants blog about their experiences.

“A particular highlight was a session on negotiating positions of different blocs of countries for upcoming talks on the proposed SDGs, the finance summit in Addis Adaba and the climate negotiations in Paris” Read Jim’s blog

“…the speakers were always very eager to discuss their research interests with us, and moreover designed their sessions in a very interactive way that kept the Summer School engaging throughout” Read Franzsi’s blog

“…it triggered some puzzlement and subsequent reflection when participants in the summer school presented a view or argument challenging my pre-understandings of development” Read Tanja’s blog

 

This entry was posted in Development, Events, News, Summer school.

Reflections on CGD Summer School by Jim Elliott

Reflections on ‘The post-2015 development agenda: manifesto for an age of global inequality and turmoil?’

With the Centre for Global Development 2015 summer school sadly at an end I have had some time to reflect on the many interesting discussions and activities that filled the week and made the time fly. Academic pursuits should always raise more questions than they answer and I am pleased to say the summer school did not disappoint in this regard. I attended because I have been studying an MSc in Sustainability Science and Policy but haven’t really studied development in any depth so I learnt a lot during the week. But, as has been observed by many before me, the more you learn, the less you know. Certainly the summer school raised a lot of interesting questions to wrestle with.

Overall, the summer school had a really nice balance of interactive lectures from experts in different fields and practical role-play and mock negotiation exercises. There really was something for everyone. I love lectures and discussion but don’t normally enjoy role-play so much. However, I found it raised some really interesting issues and insight that you can’t get unless you do something in practice. A particular highlight was a session on negotiating positions of different blocs of countries for upcoming talks on the proposed SDGs, the finance summit in Addis Adaba and the climate negotiations in Paris. This provided a really useful basis for following and understanding these talks as they unfold.

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This entry was posted in Development, Events, News, Summer school.

Summer School 2015 Blog by Franziska Seitz

My name is Franziska and I studied the MA International Communication at the School of Media and Communication this year. I was lucky enough to obtain a departmental bursary to attend the Centre for Global Development Summer School 2015, which was a great experience both academically and personally. It allowed me to expand my knowledge in Development Studies in a very interdisciplinary environment, as everyone who participated in the School came from a different academic discipline or work background. It thus became very easy and enjoyable for me to learn about contemporary development issues such as food security, gender equality or peace building in the different sessions as these were designed for any knowledge level. The School provided a great opportunity to engage in interesting discussions with international experts in their fields, of which I particularly enjoyed Professor Michael Rudolph’s (Director of Wits Siyakhana Initiative for Ecological Health and Food Security, South Africa) presentation on food security this year. In this particular session, Professor Rudolph talked to us about the potential of urban gardening as a means of tackling health concerns in South Africa.

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This entry was posted in Development, Events, News, Summer school.

Summer School 2015 Blog by Tanja Dittfeld

Studying a master of science in development studies at Lund University in Sweden, I am evidently interested in the past, present and future trends i.e. theories and practices in international development. Seeing that the field of development to be very heterogeneous and dynamic, I continuously seek to advance my knowledge, skills and competences in relation to it. Hence, Leeds University’s advertisement for their summer school about the transition from the MDGs to the SDGs immediately appealed to me. The appeal did not only consist of the possibility to learn about the future rhetorical agenda for my field but also the critical perspectives the summer school seemed to offer on the aforementioned transition. I will admit that when I coincidentally noticed the advertisement for the summer school, I truly did not think that I had a chance of going. Nevertheless, I decided to apply for the one bursary that the Centre for Global Development offered, and I actually got it. Thus, I had the opportunity to spend four inspiring, exciting and long days in the company of exceptional lecturers engaged in a multitude of areas within the field of development such as gender, education, food security/sovereignty, religion and health, and classmates with a variety of geographical, educational and occupational backgrounds.

The heterogeneity in lecturers, lectures and participants created a dynamic atmosphere that sparked numerous rewarding discussions inside and outside of class. Personally, these discussions highlighted alternative ways of viewing and conceptualising development, and correspondingly underlined the importance of reflexivity about and in your field. This is to say that my general study and work environment have rendered a lot of notions and concepts related to development self-evident and self-explanatory to me. Hence, it triggered some puzzlement and subsequent reflection when participants in the summer school presented a view or argument challenging my pre-understandings of development.

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This entry was posted in Development, Events, News, Summer school.

The ethics of ‘Voluntourism’ – 3 students debate the issues

POLIS along with the Centre for Global Development funded 3 students to attend a conference on international volunteering, run by Tourism Concern. They have produced a handy guide for those thinking of getting involved which highlights the importance of being critically aware and asking the right questions of companies offering these opportunities.

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This entry was posted in Development, Events, Volunteering.

The problem with Voluntourism

The problem with Voluntourism by Katie Lawrence

In October myself and two other POLIS students attended a conference to help us answer some questions about the so-called volunteering that many British students travel overseas to part take in. I had so many questions; questions that I felt needed exploring. I was keen to learn more about the ‘ethicalness’ of volunteering abroad, having asked the question to myself: is international volunteering, in the generic sense that we think of it, the most effective way to deliver aid? Are volunteers today getting caught up in it being ‘the thing to do’ rather than delivering the most effective aid? Is it just a fashionable tourist statement or does it deliver the benefits that are assumed? So when the opportunity arose to go to a conference about ‘Voluntourism’ I grabbed it with both hands! So at 5.30am we set off for the train from Leeds to London!

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This entry was posted in Development, Events, Volunteering.

Voluntourism conference

Blog post by Michaelie Coughlan

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to attend a conference on the ethics of international volunteering. This is something quite close to my heart because, since I can remember, I have always strived towards a career in the humanitarian sector and, having quite recently done two volunteer trips to Bangalore, India, in the last year, I was very intrigued as to what other professionals in the sector had to say about it.

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This entry was posted in Development, Events, Volunteering.

Voluntourism

Blog post by Lara Peterson

I applied to attend the Tourism Concern International Volunteering Conference in London for one main reason – the concept of ‘voluntourism’ and unethical volunteering placements abroad had been playing on my mind for almost a year. I took a gap year after Sixth Form and became a voluntourist myself. Although I don’t consider my experience to be negative and think I quickly became aware that there was more to the volunteering industry than first meets the eye. I witnessed the manipulation of other volunteers around me, because their white skin was assumed to translate into profit. And these volunteers themselves, often to do nothing but add to this stereotype of the privileged west, therefore only increasing a social problem rather than ‘making a difference’.

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This entry was posted in Development, Events, Volunteering.

POLIS students blog about their experiences at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

The CGD team together with 3 POLIS students attended the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict last year.  The Summit was co-hosted by Angelina Jolie, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and William Hague, the Foreign Secretary. While world and religious leaders were discussing the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, the CGD team spent days listening to different talks, presentations and discussions at the event’s vibrant fringes scene. Our impressions from the event can be found in the blog posts below:

My thoughts on the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict Blog entry by Augusta Riddy

Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict: Day One – Masculinities Blog entry by Martha Flynn

Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict: Day Two – Transitional Justice Blog entry by Martha Flynn

Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict Blog entry by Florence Basteon

This entry was posted in Events, Gender.

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