In the Field:
Cultivating Collaboration and Innovation

February 8-9, 2013

Thanks to everyone who attended this year’s Human Development Conference, the fifth annual HDC. On behalf of the Ford Family Program for Human Development and Solidarity, the Center for Social Concerns and SIT Study Abroad, we extend our gratitude to all presenters, faculty members, and attendees who cultivated a true sense of collaboration through discourse on the state of human development today. Thanks also to Notre Dame’s Office of Sustainably, which helped us make it a “green” event.

“In the Field: Cultivating Collaboration and Innovation” was a fascinating two-day conference, with more than 200 students, faculty members, and development experts in attendance from around the world. Over 70 students presented their own research on development-related topics, conducted in more than 30 countries. Research presentations and subsequent discussion ranged from perceptions of trust among Peruvian victims of sexual abuse, to organic agricultural certification in India, to combating cancer in Samoa.

Ford Program Director Fr. Bob Dowd opened the HDC with remarks about the importance to students in the field of an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to understanding development. Five panel sessions, almost 15 poster presentations, and a photography contest all reflected the conference theme of innovation and community partnership.

The atmosphere of the conference was invigorating. “This conference has been such an exciting experience,” said A. J. Wildey of Dickinson College, who was delighted that she was able to freely discuss development issues with similarly passionate young people.

Keynote speaker Sara Sievers, founding executive director of the Center for Globalization and Development at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, addressed the student participants in the closing session.  Sievers spoke about her hope for the future of development, asserting, “You are the trailblazers in changing the face of the world.”
The Ford Program would also like to thank the visiting delegations of faculty and students from Uganda Martyrs University, Ford’s partner in on-site development work in Uganda, as well as from Holy Cross College in Agartala, India. We are grateful for their participation in this annual conference.

Please stay tuned for next year’s conference. The call for papers will be sent out in fall 2013. We look forward to seeing you next February!