Category: Reflections on Development

Pride, for Everyone

Pride, for Everyone people walking in Moldova Pride holding big pink hearts overhead

Pride Month is here, but its significance varies enormously depending on your moral stance on sexual and gender minorities. Critics argue that gay and transgender people contravene norms of human relationships and identity that have largely prevailed – with some notable exceptions and grey areas – for millennia. In truth, heteronormativity and cisgender bias have […]

Threats to Respect, Threats to Dignity

Threats to Respect, Threats to Dignity woman looks at computer in a concerned or confused way

How Social Media Challenges Conceptions of Respect and Jeopardizes Human Dignity It is nearly impossible to speak of the concept of dignity without also using the term “respect.” Indeed, dignity is a noun, and grammatical rules insist that in order to use dignity in a sentence, it must have a verb attached to it. Very […]

Promoting Democratic Values to Prevent Democratic Backsliding

Promoting Democratic Values to Prevent Democratic Backsliding people in the street holding signs

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 […]

The Greening of the No-Self

The Greening of the No-Self sandy background with a sheaf of grass

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 […]

The Importance of the Female Perspective

The Importance of the Female Perspective A woman in a suit talks to journalists in front of flags

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 […]

Ethical leadership for Africa’s Agriculture Development

Ethical leadership for Africa’s Agriculture Development An Afrian woman inspects plants growing in a high-density indoor facility

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 […]

Pride’s Moral and Existential Global Moment

Pride’s Moral and Existential Global Moment rainbow flag and the words "pride month" written in rainbow text

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 […]

Pandemic Changes, from Routines to Values

Pandemic Changes, from Routines to Values a section of the globe with lines coming out of it

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 […]

Development is not a Device

Development is not a Device a woman points at a wall of post-it notes

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 […]

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

More than a Reckoning: Still Crying Out for Change in Foreign Aid logos of the world bank, peace corps, imf, and several others

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 […]