Moral clarity matters.
At the Center for Values in International Development (the Center) we
Elevate the awareness, understanding, and essential role of a values-based discourse in international relief & development
Integrate ethics pragmatically to inform all aspects of relief & development activities
Advocate for the regular use of applied ethics to yield more just, caring, equitable, and sustainable development outcomes and processes
The Center envisions a global movement towards respect for universal human dignity, under which ethics holds a pragmatic and influential role.
Centering values in international relief & development.
The Center is redefining the current relief & development paradigm so that ethics takes a front-seat. The Center applies moral considerations and ethical analyses to achieve more just, caring, equitable, and sustainable processes and outcomes. The Center works with governments, multilateral and bilateral aid agencies, foundations, and development practitioners to incorporate ethics into all aspects of their activities to foster human flourishing and a healthy environment.
In 2015 the United Nations General Assembly, drawing its inspiration from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that document’s robust affirmation of inherent human dignity, adopted Resolution A/RES/70/175, better known as the Nelson Mandela Rules: “The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners”. In the name of the late South African President Nelson […]
I’m an unrepentant advocate of “transformational” leadership – not “transformative” leadership. Is this a semantics storm in a teacup? After all, “transformative” and “transformational” are similar terms…but there are important differences. “Transformative” generally refers to something that brings about a significant change or transformation. It implies a person, process, or an event that has the […]
Once again, it’s Pride Month around the world. Unlike most such commemorative Pride Months in the recent past, however, the joyful celebrations of identity, expression, rights, and dignity that Pride signifies are now tinged with an ominous and – particularly for transgender persons – alarming recognition. The anti-LGBTQI+ pushback, well-orchestrated and exceptionally well-funded, has now […]
In 2018, I had the remarkable opportunity to visit my son while he was serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa. Ian taught at a public secondary school in the Ouesse commune in the Collines Department of Benin, with students ranging in age from 10 to 25. The school facilities were very […]
In late 2011, just six months into my service as a Senior Advisor to USAID (political appointee under the Obama administration), I managed to convene a gathering of eleven of USAID’s top strategic planners and senior analysts in one room. I posed a single question to them: “Would it not be advantageous to include the […]
It was June of 1979, and I was newly arrived in Kenya for what would become ten years working in and exploring that beautiful country. Being a little insecure in this new environment, I was cautious when a young Kenyan man approached me in Nairobi while I stood in the long queue awaiting entrance to the National Museum of Kenya. Still, his smile was disarmingly warm as […]
It takes a certain acquired skill to balance a career as a practitioner in humanitarian response and international development with a “night job” as an adjunct professor of public policy. I have done this delicate balancing act at both Georgetown University and the University of Maryland for two decades; I have no plans to stop […]
My first and only visit to the African Development Bank, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, was in 1989. I went there expressly to meet with their environmental specialist, an American gentleman whose name I sadly cannot now recall. I was then a very young town & regional planner, based in Nairobi, and I was very interested in […]
By Sean A. Valles, Director and Associate Professor, Center for Bioethics and Social Justice, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University Pessimism about the future is rising around much of the world. Meanwhile, the social institutions of democracy are experiencing slipping public support. The global COVID-19 pandemic has also drawn attention to the importance and […]
In July of this year, USAID published a report titled, “Integrating Local Knowledge in Development Programming,” produced by the Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning team. I’ll begin by commending the Agency on this report, as it identifies some of the most important factors necessary for effective, meaningful development. For example, the report emphasizes the inclusion […]