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Conference on Human Dignity and Human Development

2nd International Conference on Human Dignity and Human Development​

Kellogg Institute for International Studies

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October 22-24, 2015

In development theory and practice there is broad consensus that attention to aggregate economic growth alone is insufficient to advance people’s well-being. Among the predominant capability, well-being, and happiness approaches and in human development more broadly, human dignity has emerged as a pervasive aim and animating factor for the practice of development. 

Less clear is how an emphasis on human dignity relates concretely to the aims and methods of these paths to improving human flourishing. This 2nd Kellogg Institute conference on Human Dignity and Human Development investigates the idea of human dignity as a common connector among a variety of development approaches.

Through a dialogue between scholars and practitioners, participants will consider human dignity in light of development experience in order to identify points of synergy and make viable recommendations for theory and practice. The conference also aims to generate practical guidelines for implementing the emphasis on human dignity explicit in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

Conference panels will engage key dimensions of theory and practice, including:

  • Multidimensional approaches and integral human development: How the integral nature of human development can address persistent gaps in method and practice; how dignity can advance multidimensionality to result in measurable outcomes

  • Agency and Capability: How human dignity may imply an emphasis on certain forms of agency—e.g., individual vs. collective, or relational vs. autonomous;  how such agency accentuates the value of culture and local relationships in development practice

  • Participation: How diverse models of participation—ranging from community and political engagement and participatory decision-making to “encounter” and “accompaniment”—realize distinct roles for human dignity in international development

  • Institutions: How legal, political, and market-based institutions help protect and advance human dignity in human development; how macro-level institutional approaches can be reconciled with micro-level indicators of personal flourishing

Hosted by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, this conference is part of an ongoing research initiative on human dignity and human development led by Kellogg Director Paolo Carozza. The conference builds on the First Conference on Human Dignity and Human Development held in Rome in 2014.




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The Kellogg Institute promotes scholarship, learning, and linkages that address issues of critical importance to our world. At the center of our interdisciplinary community’s work are two key themes: democratization and human development. 

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