Moral clarity matters.

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

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

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

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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.

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 […]

a laptop open to zoom with a mug sitting next to it

Development, Dialogue, and Doing This “Right”

By Stacy Kosko | March 22, 2021

“Do no harm” suddenly no longer seems good enough as the guiding moral principle for international development and relief. Today, much to the surprise of many old international development hands, Washington, DC is immersed in a burgeoning moral discourse (mostly via Zoom).  We find ourselves sifting through concepts of values and what seems to be […]

a woman points at a wall of post-it notes

Development is not a Device

By Guest | March 10, 2021

As I so often tell my students, every country is a developing country; every society hosts communities of struggle.  If we understand development as beneficial social change, it transforms our understanding of who is part of this effort and how it operates. Too often we define development by the form in which aid is delivered—foreign […]

logos of the world bank, peace corps, imf, and several others

More than a Reckoning: Still Crying Out for Change in Foreign Aid

By Guest | February 23, 2021

A vibrant exchange of views is now taking place in Washington, DC, home to the largest concentration of people, firms, non-profits, and other institutions engaged in what we have come to view as the “international development industry”. With the upcoming Senate hearings on the nomination of former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power […]

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But our lives matter more, right?

By Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President) | January 29, 2021

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 […]

insurgents gather outside the US Capitol

When the Insurrectionists Came to Town: Reflections on our Cultural Blight and Reclaiming Shared Values

By Phil Crehan | January 15, 2021

Called on by the President of the United States, the insurrectionists came to our nation’s capital and made their violent intentions abundantly clear by desecrating our Capitol Building. As would make sense, this has dominated the public conversation over the past week, with many in power trying to hold a corrupt president to account. Although […]

Statement from the Center for Values in International Development on the Democratic Crisis in the United States

By Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President) | January 10, 2021

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 […]

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.