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.

blackboard with text "first do no harm" and signature Hippocrates

Do No Harm

By Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President) | January 9, 2021

The medical profession in the West has relied on the Hippocratic Oath for roughly 2,500 years.  Verbose at 183 words (in the 1923 Loeb edition), the Oath is frequently distilled to just four words: “First do no harm”. This wise and important maxim is worthy of emulation. While not being a member of the medical […]

a girl sits with her head bowed and hand on top of her head, holding a sign saying "I'm not for sale"

An unseemly rush for legacy at USAID

By Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President) | December 14, 2020

The clock is about to strike midnight on the Trump administration’s federal grip on American governance, including at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Mid-December following the election of a new administration is typically a time of transition for all federal agencies and departments, where the priority shifts to getting papers and briefing notes […]

a dictionary page with the word Ethics highlighted

David A. Crocker: Human development should be guided by norms and values

By Guest | November 11, 2020

This piece first appeared in the joint ISC-UNDP project Rethinking Human Development, 2020. You have worked for many years on the ethical dimensions of development and know very well the trajectory of the capabilities approach. How do you think we should rethink the concept of human development in the current context? I believe that the current […]

arms and hands of several shades grasp each others' wrists

Self, Other, and Ethics of Care in International Development

By admin | October 7, 2020

In my current research on international development, I’ve concluded that the feminist theorist and moral philosopher Serene J. Khader presents the most engaging, fresh, and thought-provoking perspective on the issues that international development practitioners face in their work[note]. According to her, such practitioners often engage, either knowingly or unknowingly, in what she terms “unjustified unconscious paternalism,” […]

two women in masks wait to cross the street

Libertarian Choice, Moral Relativism, or Social Obligation: The World of COVID-19

By Guest | September 19, 2020

Over the past couple of months, the world has been thrown into an unprecedented situation unlike any circumstance we have ever encountered. While our daily lifestyles have been altered in unimaginable ways, we are increasingly aware that reconciling our lost sense of normalcy in society depends upon our adherence to safety guidelines and protocols. Though […]

youth demonstrate with a sign saying "sea levels are rising but so are we!"

Listen to the Next Generation’s Voices!

By admin | August 27, 2020

“Youth Activism is on the rise across the globe.” “Young people are angry.” Such headlines appear prominently across the United States, pointing to young people as beacons of hope, energized both by anger and by eternal optimism. Whether it is Emma Gonzalez’s heart wrenching moment of silence at the March for Our Lives protest, or […]

an elephant's eye

About that Elephant…USAID’s new gender equality policy

By Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President) | August 21, 2020

As far as it goes, the USAID draft 2020 Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy is a fine document. Unfortunately, being a fine document isn’t enough. Women – and humanity – deserve so much more from this latest iteration of a longstanding development priority. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) – the world’s largest […]

an arched doorway in Morocco with children's silhouettes lit up at the end of the hallway

Islamophobia – Tearing Down Walls of Prejudice

By Guest | August 20, 2020

I was in 8th grade when a friend first mentioned “the geopolitical quagmire that is the Middle East”. You’d think that the most confusing part of that phrase was “geopolitical quagmire” but, in all honesty, I wasn’t even sure which countries were considered “the Middle East”. At that time, I never could have guessed that […]

a yellow single-story building behind green bushes

Civil war meets COVID-19: Cameroon as a case study in deterioration and chaos

By Guest | August 4, 2020

Just as it is our moral duty to join the global collaborative efforts to eradicate COVID-19, it is also our moral duty to ensure our fellow human beings have access to peace, education, jobs, housing, and the basic requirement for human dignity. That may be our moral duty, yet we all know that millions of […]

a wooden door with a window. on the window is taped a rainbow drawn in crayon

The Distant Spring: Philosophy and Social Innovation

By Guest | July 22, 2020

Eight variations for thinking about social innovation and sustainability transitions during the coronavirus crisis In response to the harm done to birds by the widespread use of pesticides, Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring (1962). Her account of the “silencing of the birds” helped motivate a flock of social innovation via the emerging environmental movement. Spring 2020 has […]

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