Human Development Conference

The University of Notre Dame’s Human Development Conference (HDC) is an annual, student-led conference that provides a platform for dialogue in which students from all different backgrounds and disciplines can share their development-focused research. We strive to empower passionate students to learn more about their research topics and network with other student researchers and scholars from across the country in an exploration of the continuing pursuit of good in an ever-changing world.

Re-Imagining Development: Pursuing Good in a Changing World

Re-Imagining Development: The 8th Annual Human Development Conference from John Haley on Vimeo.

The 8th Annual Human Development Conference

University of Notre Dame
Friday–Saturday, February 26–27, 2016

Our Theme

This year’s conference focuses on the transformative power of new ideas: how development paradigms that emphasize agency, inclusivity, and dignity can redefine success and challenge traditional methods in development. As the new Sustainable Development Goals illustrate, this evolution in development calls upon countries and citizens in both the developing and developed worlds to work together to overcome our shared challenges and ensure our interconnected prosperity.


Friday, February 26




Opening Remarks and Keynote with Rev. Adam Russell Taylor
"Dignity for All: Five Smooth Stones to End Extreme Poverty and Realize the SDGs"



Panel Session 1 - 4:30 pm–6:00 pm

Panel A - Accessing Health: Doors and Barriers to Quality Care - (Hesburgh Center Auditorium)
Panel B - A Changing Climate, a Changing World - (C102 Hesburgh Center)
Panel C - Making a Statement: Mediums of Democratic Participation and Community Expression - (C103 Hesburgh Center)
Panel D - Sources of Sustainability: Land and Food Security in Developing Settings - (C104/105 Hesburgh Center)




Plenary Session Featuring Graduate Student Research


Informal Dinner and Breakout Discussion Groups

Saturday, February 27


Coffee and Light Breakfast

Panel Session 2 - 9:00am–10:30am

Panel A - Fighting against Gender Violence - (Hesburgh Center Auditorium)
Panel B - Engineering Development: Community Participation for Greater Impact - (C102 Hesburgh Center)
Panel C - Creating Movements: Sport, Dance, and Personal Empowerment - (C103 Hesburgh Center)
Panel D - Community-Based Conservation: Defending Our Finite Resources - (C104/105 Hesburgh Center)



Panel Session 3 - 11:00am–12:30pm

Panel A - Perspectives on Health: Social and Cultural Dynamics in Global Medicine - (Hesburgh Center Auditorium)
Panel B - Caring for Our Future: The Orphan Crisis - (C102 Hesburgh Center)
Panel C - Striving for Economic Independence - (C103 Hesburgh Center)
Panel D - Barriers against Development - (C104/105 Hesburgh Center)



Panel Session 4 - 1:30pm–3:00pm

Panel A - Intentional Education: Strategies for Improved Learning Outcomes - (Hesburgh Center Auditorium)
Panel B - Business as Usual?: The Future of Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Economics - (C102 Hesburgh Center)
Panel C - Struggling to Settle: Justice, Dignity, and Inclusion for Refugees - (C103 Hesburgh Center)
Panel D - Erasing the Margins: Understanding the Importance of Mental Health and Disability - (C104/105 Hesburgh Center)



Panel Session 5 - 3:30pm–5:00pm

Panel A - Unlocking Potential, Rediscovering Agency: Youth and Development - (Hesburgh Center Auditorium)
Panel B - Leaving Home for a Better Life: Migration and Exploitation - (C102 Hesburgh Center)
Panel C - A Woman's Touch: Demonstrating the Effects of Financial Equity - (C103 Hesburgh Center)


Closing Discussion and Photo Contest Announcements


Dinner (for presenters, moderators, conference committee, and special guests)

Panel Descriptions

Friday, February 26

Panel Session 1 - 4:30 pm–6:00 pm

Panel A - Accessing Health: Doors and Barriers to Quality Care
(Hesburgh Center Auditorium)

This panel examines economic, social, and political impediments to medical care by evaluating the efficacy, sustainability, and accessibility of healthcare delivery systems in South Africa and South America.

  • Ricky Anjorin and Grace Finley (University of Virginia)
    “Is It Even Worth It: The Impact and Sustainability of Short-Term Medical Clinics in Iquitos, Peru”
  • Sasheenie Moodley (University of Virginia)
    “HIV and Masculinity in Gugulethu, South Africa”
  • Daniel Olivieri (University of Notre Dame)
    “An Analysis on the Effectiveness of Community Health Workers (CHWs) in the Rocinha Favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil”

Panel B - A Changing Climate, A Changing World
(C102 Hesburgh Center)

Global climate change is one of the most pressing issues that today’s leaders must face. This panel explores initiatives and policies that serve to combat global climate change and promote sustainable development. It also examines negative consequences of climate change, such as drought and environmental migration.

  • Victoire de la Maisoneuve (Saint Mary's College)
    “Sustainability Initiatives as Business Opportunities Regarding Climate Change"”
  • Jesse Meisenhelter (Macalester College)
    “Mitigating Climate-Induced Migration in Rural Morocco: Improving Sustainable Development to Address Socio-Economic and Environmental Causes of Migration”
  • Morgan Yucel (Pomona College)
    “Implementing Sustainability: Enforcing Water Restrictions during California's Historic Drought”

Panel C - Making a Statement: Mediums of Democratic Participation and Community Expression
(C103 Hesburgh Center)

Fashion, art, and media serve as glimpses into different cultures, states, and traditions. This panel explores how the arts and media can be used as tools of empowerment in the developing world.

  • Hoda Katebi (University of Chicago)
    “Now Trending: The Politics of the Underground Fashion Movement in Iran”
  • Lucy Trieshmann (University of Virginia)
    “Health, Dignity, and Empowerment: Social Media's Role in Cross-Cultural Communities of Support”
  • Kelsey Warren (University of Redlands)
    “On Air with the Community”

Panel D - Sources of Sustainability: Land and Food Security in Developing Settings
(C104/105 Hesburgh Center)

Agriculture in both rural and urban environments is relevant in the ongoing struggle for widespread food security. This panel explores topics in land consolidation and urban agriculture as they relate to development in Paraguay, Chile, and Vietnam.

  • Erin Leonard (Georgetown University)
    “Comer Es un Acto Político: La Soberanía Alimentaria y la Repolitización del Discurso del Desarrollo (Eating is a Political Act: Food Sovereignty and the Repoliticization of the Discourse of Development)”
  • Jessica Peck (University of Notre Dame)
    “Participation in Urban Agriculture Organizations in Santiago de Chile”
  • Minh Tran (Bryn Mawr College)
    “Exchanging Land, Explaining Power: Livelihood in the Wake of Land Consolidation in Peri-Urban Hanoi”


6:30pm–7:30pm Panel Discussion Featuring Graduate Student Research

The Role of Research in Development
Plenary Session (Auditorium)

The Human Development Conference is proud to present a graduate student panel, giving undergraduates at the Conference the excellent opportunity to witness the presentation and feedback process on the next level. Our three graduate students will present their research and discuss what implications their research has for development as a whole.

  • Leslie MacColman (University of Notre Dame, Department of Sociology; Kellogg Institute Graduate Affiliate)
    “Insecurity, Fear of Crime, and Civic Participation in Honduran Cities
  • Christopher Quiroz (University of Notre Dame, Department of Sociology)
    “Transitory Institutions: National Gender Perceptions Before and After the Egyptian Arab Spring”
  • Carlos Rondón Moreno (University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics; Kellogg Institute PhD Fellow)
    “The Welfare Aspects of Austerity”

Organized by: Sarah Peters (University of Notre Dame, Department of Political Science; Kellogg Institute Graduate Affiliate)


7:30pm–9:00pm Informal Dinner and Breakout Discussion Groups

The graduate student panel will be followed by three discussion groups, giving undergraduates the opportunity to capitalize on the expertise of our graduate student community at Notre Dame by directly engaging them. Each group will be facilitated by two Notre Dame graduate students and organized by theme. Presenters and conference attendees will have the opportunity to converse about the multiple facets of development, from the fieldwork of development practitioners and those engaged in issues of global health to students devoted to academic research.

Breakout Group A: Research on the Doctorate Level
Breakout Group B: Development in Practice
Breakout Group C: The Arena of Global Health

Saturday, February 27

Panel Session 2 - 9:00am–10:30am

Panel A - Women and Freedom: Fighting the Gender Gap
(Hesburgh Center Auditorium)

This panel explores the cultural, structural, and interpersonal dimensions of gender inequity and gender violence, offering insights from women's social movements and educational programs on how to close the gender gap

  • Cristina McCabe (University of Notre Dame)
    “Intimate Partner Violence in Uganda: Perceptions, Prevention, and Intervention Initiatives”
  • Katie McClave (Creighton University)
    “The Influence of Women’s Social Movements on the Laws against Gender Violence in Buenos Aires”
  • Hannah Neukrug (University of Virginia)
    “Ending Violence Against Women: Strategies and Opinions of Three Feminist Organizations in Valparaíso, Chile"

Panel B - Designing Development: Community Participation for Greater Impact
(C102 Hesburgh Center)

This panel looks at how those involved in development work engage community needs to meet development goals and decrease structural vulnerabilities.

  • Kereknaan Fiannaan (University of Notre Dame)
    “Heterophily or Homophily? Cape Town Locals’ Racial Preferences of Community Development Leaders”
  • Erich Jegier (University of Notre Dame)
    “Building Bridges, Building Hope: Utilizing Participatory Design to Create Lasting Impact in a Rural Nicaraguan Community”
  • Adam Logeman (University of Notre Dame)
    “The Effects of Societal Systems on the Hazard Vulnerability of Low-Income Housing: A Case Study in Rural Nicaragua”

Panel C - Creating Movements: Sport, Dance, and Personal Empowerment
(C103 Hesburgh Center)

Today’s leaders are seeking innovative strategies for development. This panel explores how communities in the developing world are empowered to promote change through involvement in sport, dance, and recreational programs.

  • Rebecca Dunn (Washington and Lee University)
    “Right to Play and Right to Health: The Role of Sub-Saharan Sport for Development Programs in the HIV/AIDS Pandemic”
  • Tiarra Riggins (Gettysburg College)
    “The Recreation of the Dominant Narrative via the Candombe: Linking the Candombe to Afro Social Movements in Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina”
  • Summer Sinsigalli (University of Colorado Boulder)
    “Estrelas do Trilho: The Development of Girl Empowerment through Soccer in Northeast Brazil”

Panel D - Community-Based Conservation: Defending Our Finite Resources
(C104/105 Hesburgh Center)

What are the ecological implications of a rapidly developing world?  Panelists tell stories of community-based conservation efforts in Nepal, Kenya, and Panama with the aim of preserving ancient resources in a progressive world.

  • Mallory Graves (Sewanee: The University of the South)
    “Opportunity Cost Analysis of a Carbon Offset Program on Northern Isla Bastimentos, Panama”
  • Ellison Heil (Muhlenberg College)
    “On Conservation: The Role of Integrated Conservation Development Programs in the Annapurna Conservation Area”
  • Julia Paolillo (Middlebury College)
    “The Mangrove Forests of Kenya’s Lamu Archipelago: Assessment of a Community-Based Conservation Project”

Panel Session 3 - 11:00am–12:30pm

Panel A - Perspectives on Health: Social and Cultural Dynamics in Global Medicine
(Hesburgh Center Auditorium)

Social norms, political structures, and cultural dynamics all have the potential to impact the practice of medicine. These presenters take an in-depth look at the complexity of delivering health education and treatment in varying societal contexts.

  • Richard Gaunt (Ithaca College)
    “Home Medicine and Ecology in Idukki District, Kerala: A Study”
  • Alexandria Kristensen (University of Notre Dame)
    “Factors Associated with the Practice of Breastfeeding for Mothers Who Attend the Dr. Robert Reid Cabral Children’s Hospital in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic”
  • Nicholas Nissen (University of Notre Dame)
    “Agency in Dominican Birth: Can Women in Region III Influence Exposure to Unnecessary Cesareans?”

Panel B - Caring for Our Future: The Orphan Crisis
(C102 Hesburgh Center)

How is empowerment facilitated in the most defenseless populations?  This panel considers obstacles encountered by African orphans of the past and present and the difficult decisions surrounding them and their caregivers.

  • Gregory Barber (Morehouse College)
    “How We Saved Ourselves: A narrative analysis examining positive coping strategies implemented by the orphans of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis”
  • Emma Milford (Washington University in St. Louis)
    “Facilitators of Empowerment Lead in Sustainable Rural Development: A Case Study of Thanda”
  • Anna Roberts (Boston College)
    “But I love him: An ethnography on caregivers' decisions to reveal or conceal orphan status in Durban, South Africa"

Panel C - Striving for Economic Independence: Microfinance in Practice
(C103 Hesburgh Center)

This panel considers factors impacting the effectiveness of microfinance as a vehicle for economic and human development using examples from the agricultural and informal sectors of developing nations.

  • Natalie Clements (Goucher College)
    “Factors Influencing Microenterprise Survival in the Informal Sector in Uganda”
  • Jennavieve Kunz (University of Portland)
    “Agriculture and Land Tenure in Tanzania and Uganda: A Comparative Study in Gender & Stakeholders"
  • Rachael Peroutky (Carleton College)
    “For-Profit Microfinance as a Strategy for Human Development”

Panel D - Barriers against Development
(C104/105 Hesburgh Center)

Though all nations experience obstacles when trying to improve their people’s living conditions, certain situations create an especially challenging environment for development. This panel examines the effects of policies and community responses meant to have an impact in difficult circumstances.

  • Lauran Feist (University of Notre Dame)
    “Presidents against Governors: Barriers to Democratization in Argentina”
  • Robert Graveline (University of Notre Dame)
    “The Effect of Community Engagement on Post-Typhoon Haiyan Recovery Efforts in Tacloban, Philippines”
  • Meg Stevenson (George Washington University)
    “The Himalayas are in Europe (but not the EU): Tourism-Induced Developments in Infrastructure in Khumjung, Nepal”

Panel Session 4 - 1:30pm–3:00pm

Panel A - Intentional Education: Strategies for Improved Learning Outcomes
(Hesburgh Center Auditorium)

Having an engaged and resourceful youth population is critical towards improving worldwide development practices. This panel contemplates struggles and methods to successful educational outcomes. It asks which practical solutions we can use in differing communities to create a healthier and more unified population.

  • Huyen (Phoebe) Do (Gettysburg College)
    “The Health and Education Effects of Solid Cooking Fuel in Vietnam”
  • Meghan Gallagher (University of Notre Dame)
    “The Learn2Earn Mobile Application: Impacting Learning Behavior and Student Engagement”
  • Bright Gyamfi (University of Notre Dame)
    “Teaching African History from the Lion’s Perspective: A History of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Educational Policies and his Efforts to Decolonize and Africanize the Educational System"
  • John Lindsay (George Washington University)
    “Informal Education of Patriotism in Rwanda: The Case of Ingando and Itorero ry’igihugu”

Panel B - Business as Usual?: The Future of Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Economics
(C102 Hesburgh Center)

This panel introduces conversations about economics in various developmental landscapes. Our panelists scrutinize the consequences, both intended and unintended, of programs, policies, and criminal activities affecting people and businesses in Uganda, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Haiti.

  • Jennifer Andre (University of Notre Dame)
    “Developing the Future: An Exploratory Study of Youth Unemployment in Kampala, Uganda”
  • Mark Brahier (University of Notre Dame)
    “Going Green: Unintended Consequences in Informal Sector Recycling”
  • Magdalena Guzman (University of Notre Dame)
    “The Role of Business in Reducing Criminal Violence: The Case of Urban Mexico”
  • Egg Shelton Saint Jean (Faculté de Droit et des Sciences Économiques)
    “Tackling Poverty through Social Entrepreneurship”

Panel C - Struggling to Settle: Justice, Dignity, and Inclusion for Refugees
(C103 Hesburgh Center)

How do refugees find dignity and inclusion in the midst of displacement from their homes and communities?  In this panel, the networks of refugees are investigated in order to understand methods of survival and compensation in strange and impersonal surroundings.

  • Shrima Pandey (Franklin & Marshall College)
    “Defining Difference, Creating Community: A Case Study of Lancaster, PA”
  • Lauren Schmidt (Colorado College)
    “Agency of the South Sudanese: Compensating for Healthcare in Mungula Refugee Settlement”
  • Andrew Scruggs (University of Notre Dame)
    “Hidden Lives within the Margins: Extraction in the Underground Economy of Haitian Immigrants in Guadeloupe”

Panel D - Erasing the Margins: Understanding the Importance of Mental Health and Disability 
(C104/105 Hesburgh Center)

This panel helps us to better understand the connections between mental and physical health.  It examines the perceptions of disabilities and mental health in various communities, explores correlations between disability and poverty, and asks how understanding and acceptance of self and others can be achieved in different global contexts.

  • Joel Burt-Miller (Brandeis University)
    “A Mirror to Society: An Autoethnography Reflecting Perspectives of Disability through Personal Narrative in a Rural Community in South Africa”
  • Mackenzie Clark (Santa Clara University)
    “Supporting Rehabilitation for Life: Empowering People with Disabilities in the Developing World”
  • Reta Flynt (University of San Francisco)
    “Mind within the Body: The Presence and Importance of Mental Health within Traditional Tibetan Medicine”

3:30pm–5:00pm - Panel Session 5

Panel A - Unlocking Potential, Rediscovering Agency: Youth and Development
(Hesburgh Center Auditorium)

As the demographic of young people across the world continues to grow, youth are increasingly at the center of development practices. This panel explores how children and adolescents can be empowered to transform their social and economic futures through involvement in martial arts, parental education programs, and reintegration programs for victims of abuse.

  • Devyn Andrews (Tufts University) 
    “More Than the World: The Intersection of Religion, Education, and Social Reintegration for Adolescent Female Survivors of Abuse in Morondava, Madagascar”
  • Mariana Cardona (George Washington University)
    “The Role of Grupo Nzinga de Capoeira Angola in the Empowerment and Development of Children from the Community of Alto da Sereia”
  • Sarah Higgins and Xavier Roberts (University of Virginia)
    “The Positive Effect of Student Agency and Local Knowledge on Childhood Nutrition”
  • Rebecca Wornhoff (University of Notre Dame)
    "’There's No Parent Training’: The Interplay of Medical, North American, and Traditional Parenting Models in Nicaragua”

Panel B - Leaving Home for a Better Life: Migration and Exploitation
(C102 Hesburgh Center)

Migration is a complicated issue in human development which reveals the extent of global inequality. This panel analyzes the economic and political forces that drive vulnerable populations from their homes to seek employment in internal urban centers or abroad.

  • Madi King (University of Notre Dame)
    “Joining the Shadows: Navigating the Legal World of Preventable Statelessness”
  • Sophie Macks (Macalester College)
    “Adapting to Urbanization: Internal Indigenous Migration in Chapod, Chile”
  • McCall Wells (Duke University)
    “Social Determinants that Influence the Healthcare Access of Migrant Domestic Workers in Buenos Aires”

Panel C - A Woman's Perspective: Demonstrating the Effects of Gender Equity
(C103 Hesburgh Center)

Women occupy a central role in promoting development. This panel investigates the roles of women in developing economies by exploring the current state of financial gender equity and women’s involvement in programs that foster economic empowerment.

  • Lauren Antosz (University of Notre Dame)
    “Sexual and Reproductive Health Education: Narratives of Adolescent Mothers in Cerro Navia, Santiago, Chile”
  • Madelyn Martinec (Holy Cross College)
    “Educating Peruvian Women for a Better Future: A Catholic Social Teaching Lens on the Peruvian Education System”
  • Jordan Thornlow (University of Colorado Boulder)
    “Girls Just Want to Have Rights: A Case Study of Jagori Rural Charitable Trust’s Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Rights Education through the Aware Girls Action for Justice (AGAJ) Program”

Poster Presenters

Elle Huang (University of Notre Dame)
“A Preferential Option for the Poor”

Sofia Piecuch (St. Mary’s College)
“Foreign Aid and Ideological Colonization”

Erin Scallen (University of Notre Dame)
“Colonialism Continues: The Impact of Foreign Direct Investment on Peru as a Developing Nation”

Luke Wajrowski (University of Notre Dame)
“What Is Poverty?: Theological Reflections on Service in Lima”

Matt Williams (University of Notre Dame)
“Expanded Analysis of Paper Analytical Devices in the Ultraviolet Spectrum”

Andrew Scruggs - Co-Chair

Andrew is a senior international economics major from Nashville, Tennessee. His research interests focus on the Caribbean and Latin America, particularly on how migration policies affect development. He has spent the past two summers researching the informal economy created by unauthorized Haitian immigrants in response to strict immigration laws on the French island of Guadeloupe. Last year, Andrew was a member of the liaison committee, and this year he serves as conference co-chair.

Ena Solórzano - Co-Chair

Ena is a senior economics and political science major from San Salvador, El Salvador. Her interests lie in understanding the relationship between economic and social development and democratization in Latin America, and in particular, in how individual well-being can be promoted through democratic institutions. Ena has had experience working in a development think tank in El Salvador and with microentrepreneurs in the region of Salta, Argentina. Previously co-chair of the presenter liaison committee and chair of logistics, this year Ena serves as conference co-chair.

María Inés Aranguren - Logistics Co-Chair

María is a sophomore computer science major from Guadalajara, Mexico. Her development passions are health and education. She is currently working with NDSEED to construct a bridge in rural Nicaragua that will improve access to educational opportunities. Last year, she worked on the logistics committee, and she serves this year as the logistics committee co-chair.

Brittany Ebeling - Communications Co-Chair

Brittany is a junior from Lakeville, Minnesota, studying international economics (French and Spanish) and peace studies. She is interested in issues of migration, forced displacement, gender and sexuality, and climate change adaptation. She has served on the HDC’s liaisons committee, presented at the 2015 HDC, and completed an Experiencing the World research fellowship through the Kellogg Institute. This year, she is co-chair of HDC communications.

Abbie Midlige - Photo Contest Chair

Abbie is a sophomore biology major and international development studies minor from Bernardsville, NJ. Her development interests are global health and public policy. This is Abbie’s first year working with the HDC, and she is most excited to sit in on panels, hearing first hand about development issues from other students. She is serving as the photo contest chair at this year’s conference.

Jessica Peck - Communications Co-Chair

Jessica is a senior from Greenville, South Carolina, studying Romance languages (Spanish and French) and international development. She is interested in sustainability and social justice, particularly the world system of food production and distribution. She has studied abroad in both Spain and France and completed research in El Salvador and Chile. Previously, she served as co-chair of the presenter liaison committee and the abstracts committee and, this year, she co-chairs HDC communications.

Sarah Stubbs - Abstracts Chair

Sarah is a senior biology major from Britt, Minnesota. She is passionate about global health, especially initiatives that seek to expand the quality and access to medical care for those most in need. Sarah has spent summers learning about development in both India and Tanzania. She served last year on the logistics and abstracts committees, and this year she chairs the abstracts committee.

Aaron Tarnasky - Liaison Chair

Aaron is a senior applied mathematics/pre-health major with a minor in poverty studies from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is most interested in the struggles endured by those in poverty, the impact on daily life and access to opportunity, and how communities can face those challenges. Last summer, he undertook a clinical internship in South Africa and is currently pursuing a project on the treatment, prevention, and resulting social stigmas of burns prevalent among children in townships. In his first year working on the HDC, he is serving as the liaison committee chair.

Maria Villalta Chacón - Logistics Co-Chair

Maria is a sophomore from Tabasco, Mexico. She is an international development studies minor and a member of the Kellogg Institute International Scholars Program. These programs have afforded her the opportunity to take part in research projects in the fields of microeconomics and migration. Her primary interests focus on immigration from Central America through Mexico to the US and the economy of Venezuela. Last year, Maria worked as a member of both the HDC logistics and communications committees, and this year she co-chairs the logistics committee.

Emily Zadigian - Graphic Designer

Emily is a junior marketing and visual communication design major from Alliance, Ohio. She is most interested in the ways in which graphic design can be a tool to aid and promote human development. In Emily’s first year with the conference, she is serving as graphic designer.


2016 Keynote Speaker 

Reverend Adam Russell Taylor cofounded and served as the executive director of Global Justice, an organization that educated and mobilized students around global human rights and economic justice. Taylor also served as a fellow in the White House Offices of Cabinet Affairs and Public Engagement, and was the vice president of advocacy at World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to helping individuals worldwide reach their full potential by tackling poverty and injustice. He was formerly the senior political director at Sojourners, where he was responsible for leading the organization's advocacy, coalition building, and constituency outreach.

Taylor is a graduate of Emory University, the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union University. He worked as an associate at the Harvard University Carr Center for Human Rights, served as the cochair of the Jubilee USA Network, and current serves as the Chair of the Sojourners Board. The author of Mobilizing Hope: Faith-Inspired Activism for a Post Civil Rights Generation, Taylor is also ordained in the American Baptist Church and is an associate minister at Shiloh Baptist Church In Washington, DC. Taylor currently works at the World Bank Group.

Past Conferences


Envision, Enact, Evaluate: Sustaining Momentum in Development
February 27-28, 2015


Transforming Development: New Actors, Innovative Technologies & Emerging Trends
February 28 – March 1, 2014

The theme of the sixth annual Human Development Conference, "Transforming Development: New Actors, Innovative Technologies & Emerging Trends," 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.


In the Field: Cultivating Collaboration and Innovation
February 8-9, 2013

The fifth annual Human Development Conference, “In the Field: Cultivating Collaboration and Innovation,” brought together more than 200 students, faculty members, and development experts from around the world, including keynote address speaker, Sara Sievers, the founding executive director of the Center for Globalization and Development at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.  Over 70 students presented their own research, representing fieldwork from more than 30 countries. Topics addressed ranged from evaluating the perceptions of trust among Peruvian sexually abused victims to combating cancer in Samoa and implementing organic agricultural certification in India.


Faces Behind the Figures: Visions of Prosperity, Progress, and Human Potential
February 10-11, 2012

The fourth annual HDC, “Faces Behind the Figures: Visions of Prosperity, Progress and Human Potential,” took place during February 2012, culminating in a keynote address given by Not For Sale’s co-founder and executive director Mark Wexler. The conference featured 250 students, faculty and development experts from across the United States and beyond. Eighty-two students presented research on development-related topics conducted in over 35 different countries. Panels addressed topics ranging from food security and agricultural development to post-conflict transformation and the effectiveness of foreign aid. 


Unleashing Human Potential: Global Citizens in Pursuit of the Common Good
February 11-12, 2011

The third annual Human Development Conference, “Unleashing Human Potential: Global Citizens in Pursuit of the Common Good,” brought together 73 undergraduate and graduate student-presenters with research experiences in over 30 countries. The Ford Program also welcomed a group of two students and three faculty members from Uganda Martyrs University, the program’s partner university in on-site research and development projects. The two-day conference concluded with a dinner banquet and keynote address given by microfinance specialist David Roodman from the Center for Global Development.


People, Power, and Pragmatism: The Future of Development in Our Changing World
February 26-27, 2010

The second annual Human Development Conference, “People, Power, and Pragmatism: The Future of Development in Our Changing World,” was held in February of 2010. More than doubling in size from the previous year, the conference grew to 80 students with research experiences in 38 different countries. Thirty-eight colleges and universities from across the globe were represented. Ray Chambers, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, spoke on his commitment to the Millennium Promise and Malaria No More. The keynote address was delivered by Joseph Sebarenzi, the former speaker of the Rwandan Parliament, who spoke passionately about his experience as a genocide survivor and his efforts to create reconciliation, peace and development in Rwanda and the world.


Solidarity in Pursuit of Authentic Human Development
Saturday, February 23, 2008

In 2008, together with the Center for Social Concerns, the Ford Program sponsored a student research symposium entitled “Solidarity in Pursuit of Authentic Human Development.” Twenty-eight students presented at the event, including students from Uganda Martyrs University. Raymond Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America, delivered the keynote address.

In November of 2008, the symposium grew into a full conference sponsored by the Ford program and cosponsored by the Center for Social Concerns and the School for International Training. “Innovation in the Service of Human Dignity” featured graduate and undergraduate student presenters from 29 universities and representing 28 countries of research. Moderators from around the country also attended the conference to facilitate panel discussions. Peter McPherson, the former head of USAID, delivered the keynote address.