Maysoon Wael Yousef Alatoom

Maysoon Wael Yousef Alatoom is the head of the Department of Research and Communications at the Center for Women’s Studies. She holds a PhD in sociology (gender studies) from the University of Jordan, where she teaches graduate courses in social theory, feminist theory, and concepts of women studies. Alatoom is a member of the Jordanian Association of Sociology and the Arab Association of Sociology. She also runs trainings and seminars on the sociology of women.

Abstract: A Paradox in the Making: Women’s education and labor market participation in Jordan

Some Arab countries have made impressive progress towards some MDGs, particularly in health and education. But in issues regarding gender equality and empowerment they have lagged behind other developing countries. In Jordan, educational attainment for women and men in 2013 were similar: 51.7 percent for women and 48.3 percent for men. The figures for women mark an increase since the mid-1990s when only 42 percent of women were educated. This increase can be attributed to the government’s commitment to improving literacy rates among women. At the same time, however, the share of women in the work force in 2013 was only 12.5 percent, while in the 1990s it was 12.3 percent. Clearly, women’s participation in the labor force has not kept up with strides in educational attainment. In this paper, I analyze the reason for this gap and suggest that much of it is the result of socio-cultural forces that are stronger than the government program.

Pablo Bose

Pablo Bose is an urban geographer with research concentrations in migration studies and international development. His recent publications include Urban Development in India: Global Indians in the Remaking of Kolkata (Routledge, 2015) and Displacement by Development: Ethics, Rights and Responsibilities (Cambridge, 2011). He co-directs a project based at the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, Canada, that focuses on environmental displacement as it relates to resource extraction, conservation, and climate change worldwide. Bose is especially interested in the impacts of these latter processes on the Global South, and the interaction between environmental displacement and the UN Millennium Development Goals. 

Abstract: Bangladesh, Climate Change, and the MDGs

I focus in this paper on Bangladesh’s recent progress towards achieving several MDGs and the threat posed to such a trajectory by the potentially devastating impacts of climate change on the low-lying nation. By paying specific attention to environmental questions and what preparing for climate change means for the poorest of the poor, whose lives the MDGS are meant to improve, I critically evaluate Bangladesh’s experience with the MDGs. The sheer amount of resources and attention paid to climate change adaptation and mitigation schemes in recent years in Bangladesh (as well as many other countries) suggests that such efforts are themselves becoming a new development mantra, supplanting in many ways other globally hegemonic developmental goals.

Paula Davis-Olwell

Paula Davis-Olwell is an independent researcher whose work has focused on infant care and feeding and maternal/child health in Africa, and more recently on mental illness in the US. Davis-Olwell’s current research interests are comparative health systems and the anthropology of aid and development. Davis-Olwell has taught courses on African health systems, medical anthropology, health policy and politics, health disparities, and medical ethics. She lived in Uganda and taught courses on population studies and reproductive health policy from 1993 to 1996 at Makerere University. She holds a PhD in public health and anthropology from Johns Hopkins University.

Abstract: Women and Children First? How missing the target (MDG 4-5) may lead to improvements in maternal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa

Failure to achieve MDG 4-5 (maternal and child health) in sub-Saharan Africa has revealed serious contradictions of the MDG process: MDG 1 (reduce poverty and hunger) was achieved early, yet growth stunting in children increased by one third; child mortality declined while neonatal mortality increased; the maternal mortality ratio decreased but remains twice the world average. Although individual, community, and macroeconomic level factors that impact MDG 4-5 were identified, researchers concluded that health system characteristics imparted the greatest effect. These health system effects may be the Millennium endeavor’s most important contribution toward improving global health, thus reviving public health debates on the structure of health systems in poor countries—comprehensive primary health care (PHC) vs. selective PHC, or integrated vs. vertical health systems. 

Kara Ellerby

Kara Ellerby is an assistant professor. Her research focuses on global gender norms, including policies promoting women in government, women’s economic rights, and violence against women. In her work, Ellerby challenges liberal feminist policy and norm diffusion by focusing on the problematic ways “women” and “gender” have become interchangeable terms in the global policy arena. She also works on women’s peacebuilding and the practical application of UNSC 1325 to post-conflict settings. She earned her PhD in political science from the University of Arizona.

Abstract: MDG 3 Gender Equality: The limits of adding women

One of the key aspects of MDG 3 and the promotion of “gender equality” is the promotion of women in public office. As states continue to pass gender quotas and increasingly promote women in the executive and judicial branches, it appears that states are working harder than ever before to increase women’s representation. But despite increased adoption of gender quotas and women’s policy agencies, women still account worldwide for only 20 percent of members of parliament, one in ten heads of state, and one in three judges. By engaging a critical feminist lens of “gender equality” and efforts to promote women, this paper explores the paradox of an increase in inclusive policies and the persistent exclusion of women. This critique focuses on the ways in which gender has become synonymous with women and equality now means fairly low thresholds of inclusion. The paper also analyzes how these phenomena shape the implementation of policies to promote women. By focusing on informal practices and beliefs, the pervasive gender binaries informing such policies, and the lack of intersectional practices, this paper seeks to offer a counter-narrative of gender equality to re-frame the liberal feminist logics and limits of efforts to increase women’s representation.

Fernando Ferrari Filho

Fernando Ferrari Filho teaches classes on Keynesian theory, macroeconomic theory, stabilization policy, and the international monetary system. Filho’s work has appeared in Brazilian and international journals, including CEPAL Review, The European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies, The International Review of Applied Economics, Investigación Económica, The Journal of Economic Issues, and The Journal of Post Keynesian Economics. He received his PhD in economics from the University of São Paulo and attended post-doctoral programs in economics at the University of Cambridge, UK, and the University of Tennessee.

Abstract: Brazil Changes the Tune: Social policies and the new developmentalism

Since the 2000s, Brazil has achieved some targets of the MDGs due to economic and social policies implemented by the last government. Poverty has been reduced, income distribution has improved, and primary education has become almost universal. These improvements have occurred despite Brazil’s orthodox economic policy based on inflation targeting, fiscal targeting, and a flexible exchange rate. For heterodox economists, this economic policy has been responsible for the deindustrialization process, among others. This presentation uses a Keynesian-Institutionalism approach to propose that an economic agenda for Brazil, which ensures macroeconomic stability (through controlled inflation, sustainable economic growth, and fiscal equilibrium) will accelerate progress toward the MDGs.

Eric Wilson Fofack

Erick Wilson Fofack is an associate professor at the Evangelic University of Cameroon and the Institute of International Relations of Cameroon, and teaches at the Middlebury-C.V. Starr School in Yaoundé. Fofack is an associate researcher at the Réseau Francophone de Recherches sur les Operations de Paix (ROP) of the University of Montreal, Canada, and at the Groupe de Recherches et d’Informations sur la Paix et la Sécurité (GRIP) in Brussels-Belgium. His research focuses on Africa, in particular political history, UN crisis management, and education and conflict. He earned his PhD in the history of international relations at the University of Yaoundé.

Abstract: Education for All in 2015: In between progress, obstacles, and hope in Central Africa 

In 2015, the international community, especially parts of Africa, will report on achievement made toward the MDGs as proclaimed by the United Nations in 2000. Since that time, African countries have made regional, intercontinental, or international agreements to allocate 15 percent of their state budgets to sectors like  education. Despite the promising efforts of Central African countries, such as Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Equatorial Guinea, progress has remained unsatisfactory. Between 2000 and 2011, total enrollments in primary school have increased to 70 percent; nevertheless, quality teaching is still lacking and good professional insertion is not guaranteed. This paper aims to provide insight into the means those states have utilized to improve education since 2000 and the difficulties they have encountered, as well as to propose solutions for better results after 2015.

Yoonbin Ha

Yoonbin Ha is a PhD student. Previously, he worked as a foreign aid practitioner at Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). During the course of his work in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, Ha became interested in the roles of donors and global-local governance in the development processes. Currently, he researches the effect of foreign aid and democratization in developing countries, with a focus on Africa.

Abstract: Strengthening Accountabilities in the Sustainable Development Goals: Shifting the focus to donors

A review of the literature on the MDGs from the past 15 years shows that accountabilities have constituted one of the global development framework’s main weaknesses. On this evidentiary basis, we develop four dimensions for differentiating accountabilities in global development governance and apply them to the emerging Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specifically, we investigate the extent to which accountabilities of bilateral donors and multilateral organizations to national recipient governments and local beneficiaries have been built into the formulation of post-2015 global development governance. We find that related agenda-setting processes have been framed in a top-down manner in spite of targeted outreach efforts. We conclude with a call for institutionalizing downstream accountabilities as a crucial component of post-2015 aid effectiveness.

Leena Her

Leena Her is an assistant professor of education. Her research and teaching focus on urban and multicultural education, culturally sustaining pedagogy, and inclusive education. She has a particular interest in the implications that culture and differences have on how educators and policy makers theorize minority student educational achievement. She has conducted ethnographic research in California and Laos.

Abstract: Reframing Deficit Narratives of Gender Disparities in Education in Lao PDR 

Lao PDR has identified gender equality as one of eight MDGs. In particular, it has identified eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education for all grade levels by 2015. While Lao PDR continues to make progress on gender equity goals, gender disparities continue to be salient in ethnic groups within Lao. This ethnographic study explores the educational experiences of college women from one ethnic group, the Hmong, to document how gender intersects with the cultural and political economy of schooling. The findings of this study challenge explanations set forth by government and development agencies, which frame gender gaps in education as deficit-based problems originating from within ethnic minority communities.

Shenila Khoja-Moolji

Shenila Khoja-Moolji is a research fellow and doctoral candidate. She investigates the public pedagogies in and through which the categories of “Muslim women and girls” and “Muslim men” have emerged as sites of concern since the latter half of the nineteenth century. Khoja-Moolji’s recent work has appeared in Gender and Education, Feminist Teacher, and Journal of Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education. She holds an MA in theological studies, with focuses on Islamic studies and gender, from Harvard Divinity School.

Abstract: Converging on the Girl: An investigation into the social production of girls’ education as a hegemonic ideology

There seems to be a global consensus that girls’ education is a commonsensical solution to issues as wide-ranging as poverty, fertility, human trafficking, and terrorism, in the global south. In this presentation, I inquire into how this common sense about girls’ education is produced and sustained. I examine how two radically specific happenings–the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan in 2012 and the kidnapping of schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria, in 2013–were transformed into “events” of international concern, and how girls’ education has come to be proposed as the solution. In doing so, I highlight the histories and social and political realities that the common sense around girls’ education conceals as well as its implications for the wellbeing of populations in the global south.

Charalampos (Harry) Konstantinidis

Charalampos (Harry) Konstantinidis is an assistant professor of economics. His research focuses on the intersection of political economy and ecological economics. His recent work examines the socio-economic dimensions of the growth of organic farming in the EU, as well as the inverse relationship between farm size and productivity in rural Kenya. His work has appeared in Feminist Economics, and the Review of Radical Political Economics. Konstantinidis holds a PhD in economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Abstract: Small Farms and Achieving the MDGs for Poverty and Hunger Reduction in Kenya

Despite recent economic growth, Kenya stands out in terms of its failure to achieve substantial progress toward meeting the MDG of halving poverty and hunger by 2015. Given the central role of agricultural production toward achieving these goals, we examine the relationship between farm size and output per acre using the nationally representative Kenyan Integrated Household Budget and Expenditure Survey of 2006. We find a strong inverse relationship, while controlling for factors such as soil or slope type. Our results indicate that support for small farms could advance reductions to rural poverty and hunger by encouraging rural employment growth and increased food production, and that liberalization efforts of Kenya land markets could undermine the MDGs.

Charlie MacCormack

Charlie MacCormack currently serves as executive chair of the Millennium Development Goal Health Alliance. He was president and CEO of Save the Children (1993 to 2012) and president and CEO of World Learning/SIT (1977 to 1993). Previously, he was dean of the Master’s Program in Development Management at the School for International Training and assistant to the dean of the International Fellows Program at Columbia University. He completed his undergraduate studies at Middlebury College and received his master’s degree and PhD from Columbia University.

Abstract: Who Participates? The evolution of a “global partnership for development” 

The global institutional architecture for development assistance was established in the wake of World War II; yet the political and economic landscape upon which these institutions operate today is vastly different. In this paper, we explore how the expanding role of private actors has shaped global development. The expanding role of corporations, civil society actors, philanthropists, and research groups offers great promise, but severe collective action problems plague the new multi-stakeholder system. We illustrate the challenges of private-public partnerships through two case studies of cooperation around two MDGs–the eradication of malaria and the achievement of universal primary education. We argue that robust collaboration is currently the exception rather than the rule and identify several ways to improve coordination and focus the development agenda.

Nitish Monebhurrun

Nitish Monebhurrun is an associate professor at the University Centre of Brasília, and is a visiting professor at the Universidad de la Sabana, Bogotá, Colombia. Previously, he served as a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Consultant for the Brazilian Competition Authority, and acted as an assistant lecturer at the Sorbonne Law School in Paris, France. Monebhurrun earned his PhD in international law from the Sorbonne Law School, and wrote his dissertation on the role of development in international investment law.

Abstract: From MDGs to SDGs: Paving the way towards a new procrastination. A lawyer’s perspective 

During the Rio+20 conference, the MDGs were merged into the newly coined SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). However, a scrutiny of the SDGs reveals that the 2012 Declaration brings no revolution and little evolution. Not only are the SDGs a new name for the MDGs but also they constitute a mere repetition of the 1992 Rio Conference. In this sense, the SDGs make, in reality, a 20-year step backward or remain, at best, stagnant; the serious debates on development issues are left to procrastinate at the international level. The paper highlights this critical approach by explaining how SDGs have existed since 1992. This is done by examining how legal instruments had already incorporated SDGs and how the 2012 Declaration will have very poor consequences for the legal reality of SDGs.

Maureen Porter

Maureen Porter is an associate professor in social and comparative analysis of education; she teaches courses on the intersections of gender, education, and international development. She has worked in the Andes for a decade leading service-learning programs and conducting participatory ethnographic research on intergenerational cultural transmission and literacy. Porter previously worked on consulting programs with UNESCO, the World Bank, the Global Fund for Women, and at the Federal and Minnesota (State) Departments of Education. She holds a PhD in international education policy studies and an MA in cultural anthropology from Stanford University. 

Abstract: Progress or Posturing?  Examining the discourse and praxis of the MDGs 

Three paradigms have shaped waves of MDG-driven reforms: “women in development,” “gender and development,” and “gender mainstreaming.” These paradigms offer fundamentally different definitions of the underlying causes of disparity, and hence they inform efforts to identify stakeholders, measure progress, and build public consensus about the importance of achieving specific MDGs. In this paper, I show how embedded discourses about the public, voice, agency, and culture have become both barriers and facilitators for sustainable, locally owned change. I provide a lens for assessing whether profound reform is occurring, thus refocusing the debate on gender-explicit approaches to framing human rights, social justice, and empowerment.

Jeremy Shiffman

Jeremy Shiffman is a political scientist by training, and researches the politics of health policy-making in low-income countries. His research has been funded by organizations including the Gates, MacArthur, and Rockefeller Foundations. Shiffman has published in multiple journals, including The Lancet, The American Journal of Public Health, and Population and Development Review, and he is the inaugural recipient of the Gary and Stacey Jacobs Award for Excellence in Health Policy Research. He earned a PhD in political science from the University of Michigan.

Abstract: Agenda-setting in Global Health: Beyond 2015

This presentation will draw on a nearly completed set of studies examining the effectiveness of global health networks that have mobilized to address six high-burden issues facing low-income countries: tuberculosis, pneumonia, tobacco use, alcohol harm, maternal mortality, and neonatal mortality. It will assess what role, if any, the MDGs played in generating international and national political attention to these issues and in the growth of networks that sought to address these problems. The presentation will also comment on the potential for the health SDG (presently goal number 3) to have agenda-setting influence. The main argument is that while international development goals such as the MDGs and SDGs have agenda-setting power, their influence should not be over-stated: they are only one of many factors shaping global and national health priorities.

Sarah Stroup

Sarah Stroup is an assistant professor of political science and teaches courses focused on the politics of humanitarianism, the international political economy, and non-state actors in world politics. Stroup published her first book, Borders Among Activists (Cornell University Press), in 2012, and is currently working on a second book that explores INGO authority in global politics. In addition, her work has appeared in the Review of International Organizations and the International Studies Review. She received her PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Abstract: Who Participates? The evolution of a “global partnership for development”

The global institutional architecture for development assistance was established in the wake of World War II; yet the political and economic landscape upon which these institutions operate today is vastly different. In this paper, we explore how the expanding role of private actors has shaped global development. The expanding role of corporations, civil society actors, philanthropists, and research groups offers great promise, but severe collective action problems plague the new multi-stakeholder system. We illustrate the challenges of private-public partnerships through two case studies of cooperation around two MDGs–the eradication of malaria and the achievement of universal primary education. We argue that robust collaboration is currently the exception rather than the rule and identify several ways to improve coordination and focus the development agenda.

Sridhar Vedachalam

Sridhar Vedachalam is a postdoctoral researcher. He received his PhD in environmental science and MS in environmental economics from the Ohio State University, where he worked on interdisciplinary approaches to wastewater management. His research is centered on water and wastewater infrastructure issues, including assessment, planning, financing, use, and regulation. He is actively involved with the nonprofit Association for India’s Development, and served a 2-year term on its Executive Board.

Abstract: Can Definitions Doom Statistics? Experiences from the water and sanitation target

Of all the MDGs’ objectives, none is perhaps more controversial than Target 7C, which seeks to “halve the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.” Ever since the adoption of the MDGs in 2000, the terms “sustainable,” “access,” and “safe” have been contested. Since the target counts the presence of hard infrastructure such as pipes, faucets, and toilets, it overestimates the availability of safe water and sanitation by large margins. The trouble with basic definitions highlights the gap between the aspirations of the global development sector and the realities of government bureaucrats. Building the post-2015 agenda without repairing these shortcomings will result in another round of sham statistics and undeserved chest thumping.

Michael Woolcock

Michael Woolcock is Lead Social Development Specialist in the World Bank’s Development Research Group, and a (part-time) lecturer in public policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He is a founder of the World Bank’s Justice for the Poor program, the University of Manchester’s Brooks World Poverty Institute (where he was in residence in 2007-2009), and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Building State Capability initiative. His published work spans a broad spectrum of issues in development, ranging from social institutions, economic history, and legal pluralism, to program evaluation, service delivery, and popular culture. He is a recipient of the 2012 “best book” and 2014 “best article” awards by the American Sociological Association’s section on the sociology of development. An Australian national, he has an MA and PhD in sociology from Brown University.

Abstract: Now for the Hard Part: From the MDGs to Building Capability for Implementation

Most developing countries will meet most of the MDGs, which is great. But that was the easy part; the development objective should not be merely to get everyone immunized, attending school, and living on at least $1.26 per day, but to raise everyone to the level of the lowest OECD countries (e.g., Portugal). The modalities and metrics deployed to deliver the MDGs, however, will not get Monrovians to Lisbon. Going forward, the key development challenge is building the state’s capability to implement incrementally more complex and contentious tasks (e.g., justice, regulation, taxation, land administration). Achieving this requires a fundamentally different approach, elements of which will be outlined.

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