What we do

The Center for Values in International Development exists to bridge the gap between international development ethics, and international relief and development practice.

Moral clarity matters

The values landscape in which international relief and development work is planned, carried out, and evaluated ought to be self-evident, but it rarely is.

  • International relief and development work takes place amidst a world filled with extreme suffering, resource scarcity, corruption, violence, inequality, political manipulation, exclusion, and egregious assaults on human dignity and rights, and yet
  • Simultaneously, around the world we also witness selfless acts of solidarity, caring, altruism, integrity, virtue, public service, transformational leadership, and attention to duty – a positive side of relief and development that receives inadequate attention.

Motivation is important

The Center for Values in International Development fosters opportunities to illuminate, share, and celebrate what motivates international relief and development actors and stakeholders, including:

  • What their personal sense of mission is, and why it matters to them
  • What the values dimensions are in their choices of where and how they work,
  • What their moral and ethical obligations and constraints are, and
  • How they can best identify and justify the trade-offs they must make each day.

Ethically robust answers are important

Getting the best possible answers to relief and development dilemmas isn’t easy – and sometimes the “best” answers are not particularly desirable.

International development ethicists stand ready to help achieve moral clarity

The field of international development ethics is now well established—at least within academia. Despite the availability of such sophisticated expertise, and the guidance available from development ethicists, relief & development practitioners and the donors and foundations who fund their work seldom make their policy and programming decisions in the light of robust secular, normative parameters. They also do not include development ethicists on their staffs.

This absence of secular moral expertise is a gap in relief and development practice that the Center for Values in International Development is working hard to bridge.