Student conference to explore human development and the common good

Author: Lacey Haussamen

Ford Family Program

The third annual Human Development Conference at the University of Notre Dame will once again bring together hundreds of students and guests from Notre Dame and universities as far away as Uganda to share their research experiences in the developing world and discuss the meaning of authentic human development from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

Organized by students for students, the conference will be held Feb. 11 and 12 (Friday and Saturday) in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies on the Notre Dame campus.

Focusing on the theme “Unleashing Human Potential: Global Citizens in Pursuit of the Common Good,” the conference will continue campus dialogue on this year’s Notre Dame Forum, “The Global Marketplace and the Common Good.”

Students will present their research in the context of broader development themes—particularly the empowerment of communities and individuals, the roles and responsibilities of global citizens, and the ethical implications of development. Participants will explore interdisciplinary, holistic approaches to improving livelihoods and advancing human dignity.

David Roodman, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, will deliver the keynote address on Saturday evening. He is currently writing a book on microfinance through an “open book” blog, sharing questions, discoveries and chapter drafts. His work explores what we know about the benefits of microfinance, and what that implies for how we support it.

Roodman has been architect and manager of the Commitment to Development Index since the project’s inception in 2002. The Index ranks the world’s richest countries based on their dedication to policies that benefit the 5 billion people living in poorer nations. It is widely recognized as the most comprehensive measure of rich-country policies towards the developing world.

Sponsored by the Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity at Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the conference is co-sponsored by Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns and SIT Study Abroad, a program of World Learning. The majority of the student research to be presented was facilitated by conference sponsors.

The registration deadline is Friday (Feb. 4).

Contacts: Lacey Haussamen, assistant director, Ford Program, 574-631-4367,; and Elizabeth Rankin, writer/editor, Kellogg Institute, 574-631-9184,