Where Are We Going?


The Wrong Way? Forging New Paths for Development. The question mark in Harvard’s 20th Annual International Development Conference theme suggests both a contestation and an endorsement of development. The affirmations, implicit and explicit, of current development policy trends were palpable despite multitudinous critiques on the technical designs and strategies used to tackle global challenges. However, several prominent voices also deconstructed the logics of development including a forceful and well articulated critique from his Excellency Frederick Tluway Sumaye, former Prime Minister of Tanzania (pictured below with CIE students), who in his plenary address, identified extreme wealth disparities as a product of modern development thinking.


The Kennedy School created an atmosphere of generosity by hosting several social gatherings with ample time for nourishment and networking. Conference goers enjoyed the opportunity to rub shoulders with leading practitioners and theorizers in the field of international development through a mix of panel discussions, plenary talks, and career workshops. The three thematic tracks: Redesigning Development Practice; Building Empowered and Sustainable Communities, and Driving Constant Learning enabled the 200 participants from over 30 countries to engage with a variety of topics.


CIE members contributed in formally convened discussions and also catalyzed less formal learning opportunities through social expeditions around Harvard Square. Formal contributions included questions to panelists regarding the disciplinary role of open data, the race for resources in Burma, the contradictions of development economics, and the complexities of health interventions. CIEers were also active participants in the Twittersphere engaging conference organizers and participants in discussions online. The following photos and conversations highlight the participatory spirit of the event.