Student conference to explore collaboration in international human development

Author: Anna Kottkamp and Margot Morris

Human Development Conference 2013

The fifth annual Human Development Conference at the University of Notre Dame will 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. 8 and 9 (Friday and Saturday) in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies on the Notre Dame campus.

This year’s theme, “In the Field: Cultivating Collaboration and Innovation,” seeks to explore the multifaceted nature of conducting research in international development, in which people from all academic disciplines must work with each other and with local communities in order to promote change.

Students will present their research in the context of broader development themes, including youth and empowerment; violence and the role of post-violence recovery; sustainable engineering and environmental practice; challenges in global health; and business and commerce in the developing world. Participants will explore interdisciplinary, holistic approaches to improving livelihoods and advancing human dignity.

Sara Sievers, senior director at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, will deliver the keynote address on Saturday evening. Known for its Millennium Villages Project, the Earth Institute unites people and innovations to address world problems ranging from climate change and environmental degradation, to poverty, disease and resource sustainability. With extensive experience in advocacy, policy and governance issues pertaining to development, Sievers currently advises the government of Nigeria on its millennial development goals.

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

For a full conference schedule, visit

Contact: Kristi Lax-Walker, Ford Program, 574-631-3744,; Elizabeth Rankin, writer/editor, Kellogg Institute, 574-631-9184,