Chloe Schwenke, Ph.D.

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 […]

Do No Harm

Do No Harm blackboard with text "first do no harm" and signature Hippocrates

The medical profession in the West has relied on the Hippocratic Oath for roughly 2,500 years.  Verbose at 183 words (in the 1923 Loeb edition), the Oath is frequently distilled to just four words: “First do no harm”. This wise and important maxim is worthy of emulation. While not being a member of the medical […]

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 […]

About that Elephant…USAID’s new gender equality policy

About that Elephant…USAID’s new gender equality policy an elephant's eye

As far as it goes, the USAID draft 2020 Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy is a fine document. Unfortunately, being a fine document isn’t enough. Women – and humanity – deserve so much more from this latest iteration of a longstanding development priority. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) – the world’s largest […]


Madness black & white image of Don Quixote on a horse with his sidekick behind

Long before the pandemic, I took my daughter Audrey to a Washington DC production by the Shakespeare Theatre Company of the play Man of La Mancha. It’s one of my favorite plays, and I first saw it when I was her age. It’s based on the famous novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, in which an elderly […]


Catastrophe green image of viruses

Some tears were not meant to be repressed. In describing the email messages she’d been receiving, she may not have wanted her loss of composure to become the video image being broadcast to the small and scattered universe of our local Quaker community, each at their respective homes behind their Zoom monitors, atomized but oddly […]