Transforming Development:
New Actors, Innovative Technologies
& Emerging Trends

The 6th Annual Human Development Conference
February 28 – March 1, 2014
University of Notre Dame

2015 Human Development Conference
February 27-28, 2015


The annual student-led Human Development Conference (HDC) at the University of Notre Dame brought together hundreds of students—from Notre Dame and universities across the country and around the world—who are passionate about development. They shared their research experiences in the developing world and discussed the meaning of authentic human development from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

Our Theme

This year’s theme was inspired by the idea that development is an evolving process. A widening set of stakeholders and rapidly advancing technologies raise new possibilities for the field. The conference was a chance to reflect on both successes and failures in development, while analyzing opportunities created by these new trends.

View this year's photo contest winners here

Thanks to everyone who attended this year’s Human Development Conference!

Erik Jensen, University of Notre Dame
I love when people tell stories about what gets them fired up, and it is even more inspiring with first-hand stories. The HDC provided a platform for people to tell their incredible stories, which is something that students with research projects want more than anything -- to tell others what they learned through their stories.

Brooke Justus, University of Notre Dame
I was impressed by the diversity of perspectives and studies on development that were presented throughout the conference.  Even if the disciplines or countries were far removed from each other, patterns emerged that united the presenters in common goals and concerns.  As a Freshman, it was really motivating to see the exciting and remarkably in-depth research projects done by students only two or three years older than me.  I left the conference with an increased desire to do research of my own in the developing world and hopefully be able to present and discuss my studies at conferences like this in the future.

Nick Nissen, University of Notre Dame
Regarding my experience hosting Chiman, I would like to say that the Human Development Conference is a powerful event because it brings together people from all around the world who think beyond their borders—people who are focused on the advancement of the human race. I was honored to host Chiman and have the opportunity to discuss our work with one another.

Jamie Pfaff, University of Notre Dame
The theme of Notre Dame's 2014 Human Development Conference centered around the notion that development is an evolving process. In this spirit, I chose to submit a photo from my ISSLP experience in Chennai, India. The photograph depicts a train moving through a rural, mountainous forest in the Himalayas. This train and the cell phones that are seen being held by people hanging off the train demonstrate the evolution of technology even in the developing world. This image brings attention to the thought that technological tools continue to evolve as critical elements of development around the world.

Niwagaba Prosper, Uganda Martyrs University 
It was such a great time attending the Human Development Conference. I met so many different people, and I really appreciate the great hospitality and the spirit of togetherness the students portray. I have learnt a lot from the ND community right from the first day despite the chilly, freezing weather.

Megan Reineccius, University of Notre Dame
I was thinking more about the conference a lot the past couple days and why I had such a good time. I realized that it was because despite everyone's differences - where they went to school, their place of research, or field of study - we all invested our mental and emotional energy into tackling questions plaguing our transforming world. It was this shared curiosity and belief in change that made me feel right at home.

Kaitlin Thompson, Villanova University 
It was a great experience to see the interesting research work undergraduate students are doing throughout the world and have the chance to present my work as well. I learned a lot and left the conference very inspired to keep learning about development and pursue my interests to hopefully contribute to the field.

The fact that the conference was organized by undergraduates and all the presenters were undergraduates was very impressive. As busy, young students, it was impressive to see so many who deeply care about development and have done work to contribute to the field and work towards deeper understanding and solutions to development challenges.

Denise Umubyeyi, University of Notre Dame
I thought the conference truly brought together people from all different background, not only academically but also geographically. I ran into a girl presenting from Switzerland, other international presenters, as well as a wide range of U.S. students which was really cool!