Moral clarity matters.

At the Center for Values in International Development (the Center) we

line drawing of a person climbing a sequence of columns to reach a flag


Elevate the awareness, understanding, and essential role of a values-based discourse in international relief & development

line drawing of a lightbulb and gears


Integrate ethics pragmatically to inform all aspects of relief & development activities

line drawing of a hand holding a megaphone


Advocate for the regular use of applied ethics to yield more just, caring, equitable, and sustainable development outcomes and processes

Our Vision

The Center envisions a global movement towards respect for universal human dignity, under which ethics holds a pragmatic and influential role.

Our Mission

Centering values in international relief & development.

The Center is redefining the current relief & development paradigm so that ethics takes a front-seat. The Center applies moral considerations and ethical analyses to achieve more just, caring, equitable, and sustainable processes and outcomes. The Center works with governments, multilateral and bilateral aid agencies, foundations, and development practitioners to incorporate ethics into all aspects of their activities to foster human flourishing and a healthy environment.

members of the Russian army

Putin’s sovereignty

By Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President) | February 24, 2022

“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 […]

people in the street holding signs

Promoting Democratic Values to Prevent Democratic Backsliding

By Guest | January 16, 2022

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, democracy was under threat. That threat continues. Around the world, the repression of peaceful protests, the use of extra-constitutional measures against periodic and free elections, the troubling reality of unequal protection under the law, and much more have come to characterize the severe negligence of core democratic practices, threatening the […]

sandy background with a sheaf of grass

The Greening of the No-Self

By Anna Malavisi, PhD (Vice President) | November 28, 2021

I participated in a conference a few weeks ago on Sustainable Peace, and during discussion on my presentation: “Thinking Sustainability, Thinking Peace,” many of the questions were about “the greening of the self” – a phrase that I used in my presentation. The phrase is not mine; it has its origins with a chapter by […]

A woman in a suit talks to journalists in front of flags

The Importance of the Female Perspective

By Guest | October 30, 2021

As many nations across the world strive towards democratic development, the gap between the number of male and female politicians continues to plague the globe. Out of 193 countries, just 22 have a female head of state and countries that boast equality in their national cabinet is limited to 13 (Vogelstein & Bro, 2021). In […]

An Afrian woman inspects plants growing in a high-density indoor facility

Ethical leadership for Africa’s Agriculture Development

By Guest | October 27, 2021

In a crisis, people call out for strong, ethical leadership. The world is now dealing with the decisions that leaders have made that have led to deep inequities in accessing the COVID-19 vaccines. Leaders from high income countries acted quickly to galvanize scientific energies and resources for vaccine development but have acted unethically in hindering […]

doctor and patient review paperwork

USAID: Owning the Moral Agenda in the Global Pandemic Response

By Guest | October 14, 2021

Globally, and especially in the least affluent countries in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to push the demand for moral clarity in decision-making to ever higher standards of transparency and accountability. Within international relief and development policy and practice, ethical concerns become much more difficult to tackle when multiple demands are placed on limited […]

people gather around a table

What is “development ethics”?

By Guest | July 12, 2021

Each area of practice generates important ethical questions about priorities and procedures, rights and responsibilities. This holds true also for work in local, national and international development. ‘Development ethics’ can be understood then as discussion of the many and varied ethical questions that arise in development work. It is a field comparable to business ethics, […]

rainbow flag and the words "pride month" written in rainbow text

Pride’s Moral and Existential Global Moment

By Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President) | June 28, 2021

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 […]

a section of the globe with lines coming out of it

Pandemic Changes, from Routines to Values

By Guest | June 22, 2021

The sociologist David Freeman, professor at Colorado State University, described in his book Technology and Society (1976) the four stages in the introduction of new technologies in daily life, both in the production of goods and services and in the consumption thereof.  His description of these stages can also be used to explain what happens […]

Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt of the United States holding a Declaration of Human Rights poster in English.

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

By Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President) | April 27, 2021

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 […]

The Center for Values in International Development
1919 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 425
Washington, DC 20006

Registered as a nonprofit organization in the District of Columbia, USA, and tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.