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Ford Program sponsors first human development student conference

Author: Arts and Letters


Graduate and undergraduate students representing 36 colleges and universities will present dynamic human development research conducted in 25 countries on five continents at a conference titled “Innovation in the Service of Human Dignity,” to be held Nov. 7 and 8 (Friday and Saturday) at the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Center for International Studies. The event is free and open to the public.

During the two-day conference, 58 participants, including 17 Notre Dame students, will explore development successes and challenges across many disciplines. Presentations will address a wide variety of topics, connecting through the conference’s overarching themes – that all human development efforts should respect and reflect the inherent dignity of each and every person, and that overcoming poverty’s toughest challenges requires innovation by policymakers, academicians, practitioners and activists.

Student presenters will demonstrate how human development links with public health, gender, religion, governance and public policy, education, post-conflict restoration, the environment, culture and economics.

A full conference schedule and registration information are available on the Web at

Peter McPherson, former administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will deliver the keynote lecture Friday evening. McPherson currently is president of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, a consortium of 218 institutions enrolling 4.7 million students. The founding co-chair of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, he also is board chair of International Food and Agricultural Development and Harvest Plus, organizations that focus on nutrition, agricultural development and soil fertility in Africa.

McPherson previously served as chairman of the board of Dow Jones & Company and as president of Michigan State University for 11 years. While on leave in 2003, he served as the director of economic policy for the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq, working with theCentral Bank, Ministry of Finance, currency and banks of the country. During the 1980s he also served as deputy secretary of the U.S. Treasury for trade, tax and international issues.

Moderators for the 13 student panels will include faculty members from Notre Dame; Uganda Martyrs University, the nation’s premier Catholic university and Notre Dame’s partner in development efforts in Uganda; and SIT Study Abroad World Learning, a U.S. pioneer in academically rigorous international studies programs.

Organized by the Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity at Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the event also is sponsored by the University’s Center for Social Concerns and SIT Study Abroad World Learning.

The Ford Program advances knowledge by supporting research, teaching and learning opportunities for Notre Dame students and faculty and by collaborating with partner universities. It works with local communities in Africa to apply program-sponsored research results to the design and implementation of innovative solutions that expand opportunities for those trapped in poverty.

Contacts: Elizabeth Rankin, writer/editor, Kellogg Institute, 574-631-9184, ; or Tim Lyden, assistant director, Ford Program, 574-631-3744, __

Originally published by Elizabeth Rankin and Tim Lyden at on October 31, 2008.