It is human to care about the suffering and hardships endured by others, and to seek a world distinguished by opportunities, freedom, empathy, responsibility, collaboration, reciprocity, solidarity, fairness, altruism, and service.

Those in power cast aside such aspirations as idealistic and soft against the prevailing economic and political narrative of maximizing self-interest, achieving dominance, exploiting short-term gains regardless of long-term consequences (e.g., the climate crisis), and manipulating others when it serves one’s perceived goals.

In such a context, it is no surprise that the gap between rich and poor countries is worsening; that gap Is now at its highest level in over 30 years. The COVID pandemic further accelerates that divide, with particularly dire consequences for women, girls, and marginalized persons.

Isn’t it time that we thought and acted more carefully – more in line with our often-stated commitment that human dignity and worth are universally equal? If so, why is there so little room within the international relief & development industry for robust, explicit moral thinking?

Moral clarity matters.

The development ethicists and practitioners of the Center for Values in International Development work to make explicit the many moral values that influence and shape international development. Once made clear, such values can inform and guide international relief & development discourse, policy, programming, advocacy, monitoring, and evaluation.

Once made explicit, such values can even begin to frame a new and better paradigm.