Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President)

USAID’s Core Values:  Really “Core”?

USAID’s Core Values:  Really “Core”? a compass with a black background. the red north arrow points to the words Core Value

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 […]

Pride, for Everyone

Pride, for Everyone people walking in Moldova Pride holding big pink hearts overhead

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 […]

A Change to the Paradigm?

A Change to the Paradigm? Chloe Schwenke speaking at the 2017 conference of the Society for International Development in Washington, DC.

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 […]

Putin’s sovereignty

Putin’s sovereignty members of the Russian army

“Contempt for human beings is intrinsic to the mentality of officials who rule rights-denying states.” These words by Princeton philosopher George Kateb have seldom been more clearly and tragically demonstrated than what we are now witnessing as Vladimir Putin launches his barbaric assault against the people and the free, democratic nation of Ukraine. Such a […]

Pride’s Moral and Existential Global Moment

Pride’s Moral and Existential Global Moment rainbow flag and the words "pride month" written in rainbow text

Paradigms – and the values that they are based on – are neither fixed nor immutable. In this country, a shift in the norms that long defined the systemic and entrenched exclusion of one demographic began with a communal act of saying no, but it quickly led to a powerful affirmation of yes. We now […]

Development and Diplomacy: Expanding USAID’s Effectiveness on Human Rights

Development and Diplomacy: Expanding USAID’s Effectiveness on Human Rights Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt of the United States holding a Declaration of Human Rights poster in English.

Human rights exist in two overlapping worlds – moral and legal. Nobel Laureate economist and philosopher Amartya Sen observed that from the perspective of traditional economics… “moral rights or freedoms command very little interest; at best they are perceived as purely legal entities of instrumental use only”. Of course, Sen has gone on to secure […]

But our lives matter more, right?

But our lives matter more, right? gloved hands draw up a syringe

Boundaries matter – politically and morally. Governments generally limit their focus to attending to the needs and aspirations of their own citizens, all within the context of national borders, and in anticipation of or in response to the threats and opportunities coming from outside those borders. The sophisticated institutions of diplomacy, defense, and global trade […]

Statement from the Center for Values in International Development on the Democratic Crisis in the United States

Seldom in our recent history has the United States engaged in such a profound and urgent discourse on the meaning, significance, and relevance of our shared values as a nation. Since the appalling assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, our urgent reflection about our identity as citizens of a mature democracy – on […]

An unseemly rush for legacy at USAID

An unseemly rush for legacy at USAID a girl sits with her head bowed and hand on top of her head, holding a sign saying "I'm not for sale"

The clock is about to strike midnight on the Trump administration’s federal grip on American governance, including at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Mid-December following the election of a new administration is typically a time of transition for all federal agencies and departments, where the priority shifts to getting papers and briefing notes […]

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