Moral clarity matters.

At the Center for Values in International Development (the Center) we

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Elevate the awareness, understanding, and essential role of a values-based discourse in international relief & development

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Integrate ethics pragmatically to inform all aspects of relief & development activities

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Advocate for the regular use of applied ethics to yield more just, caring, equitable, and sustainable development outcomes and processes

Our Vision

The Center envisions a global movement towards respect for universal human dignity, under which ethics holds a pragmatic and influential role.

Our Mission

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.

three people gathered around a laptop

But what problems can applied ethics solve?

By Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President) | March 20, 2023

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 […]

Morality in foreign policy: reflections on a remarkable gentleman from Plains, Georgia

By Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President) | February 27, 2023

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 […]

a sepia colored photo of a man walking down a dirt road at dawn

Yearning for meaning in international development

By Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President) | February 3, 2023

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 […]

a compass with a black background. the red north arrow points to the words Core Value

USAID’s Core Values:  Really “Core”?

By Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President) | October 14, 2022

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 […]

several dark-skinned medical professionals in blue scrubs, masks, and hairnets with heads bowed

International Development and Health: Rethinking Global Pessimism about the Future

By Guest | October 3, 2022

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 […]

a woman stands grasping a large soursop fruit in a tree

Beyond Integrating Local Knowledge in Development Programming

By Anna Malavisi, PhD (Vice President) | August 28, 2022

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 […]

people walking in Moldova Pride holding big pink hearts overhead

Pride, for Everyone

By Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President) | June 15, 2022

Pride Month is here, but its significance varies enormously depending on your moral stance on sexual and gender minorities. Critics argue that gay and transgender people contravene norms of human relationships and identity that have largely prevailed – with some notable exceptions and grey areas – for millennia. In truth, heteronormativity and cisgender bias have […]

woman looks at computer in a concerned or confused way

Threats to Respect, Threats to Dignity

By Guest | April 16, 2022

How Social Media Challenges Conceptions of Respect and Jeopardizes Human Dignity It is nearly impossible to speak of the concept of dignity without also using the term “respect.” Indeed, dignity is a noun, and grammatical rules insist that in order to use dignity in a sentence, it must have a verb attached to it. Very […]

Chloe Schwenke speaking at the 2017 conference of the Society for International Development in Washington, DC.

A Change to the Paradigm?

By Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President) | March 24, 2022

Is it simply the height of absurdity for a small, start-up non-profit organization called the Center for Values in International Development to think we might provoke a course-correction for a major federal agency? Almost certainly. Especially when this non-profit stands alone as the only organization of ethicists working in the international relief and development industry […]

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Climate crisis as a human crisis – facing inhumanity with ethical creativity

By Guest | March 12, 2022

This reflection considers the fate of humanity at the intersection between the climate crisis and the migrant crisis. The international regimes of climate governance and humanitarian protection are moving in opposite directions, tearing the fabric of our shared humanity, and creating abyssal inhumanity at Europe’s borders and on the high seas. In a striking essay […]

The Center for Values in International Development
1919 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
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Washington, DC 20006

Registered as a nonprofit organization in the District of Columbia, USA, and tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.