Priority activity areas


Fostering a vibrant moral discourse among international relief & development practitioners, donors, and stakeholders is the most effective path to make moral clarity matter.

Applying a secular moral lens empowers us to view, understand, and reconceive relief & development beyond utilitarian cost-benefit approaches, political economy frameworks, and the prevailing view that human nature is entirely self-interested and self-serving.

International development ethicists can help to engender and sustain a meaningful values-based discourse - leading to results-based positive relief & development outcomes.

Such a discourse, if institutionalized within relief & development theory and practice, will build a global community of practice committed to achieving increased levels of respect for universal, equal human dignity for all persons everywhere.


Ethical assessment and awareness-raising within a relief & development context opens new and pragmatic opportunities to design, implement, measure, evaluate, and discuss meaningful outputs and outcomes, and means and ends.

There is nothing arbitrary, impractical, or superfluous about enlisting the insights, guidance, and recommendations that arise from the application of development ethics to all aspects of international relief & development.


The Center for Values in International Development provides tailored consulting services and staff training in moral discernment and morally-informed analysis and decision-making on any aspect of international relief & development practice, and on any specific policy, program, or project-based activities.

Risk mitigation

Moral dilemmas are not uncommon in international relief & development, and the range of morally defensible answers may often be uncomfortably narrow.

International relief & development often depends on decision-making affecting the expenditure and distribution of scarce taxpayers' or philanthropic funding.

The Center for Values in International Development counsels decision-makers in how best to apply normative parameters to arrive at morally and politically justifiable choices, and how to articulate these deliberations to assure stakeholders that hard choices were made with reasonable and appropriate care, diligence, and moral assessment.

All over the world people are struggling for lives that are worthy of their human dignity.
Martha Nussbaum, American philosopher and Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago