This year, the International Development Conference will highlight the theoretical development studies and policy research that play a predominant role in shaping development projects. When concrete, tangible policies and projects are implemented, theory and practice often fail to coincide. Development solutions and initiatives, as well as daily livelihood decisions, executed by an array of actors - from large development players to individual households - affect the lives of citizens and underdeveloped areas throughout the world. As such, critical reflections on ongoing development efforts, common consumption decisions and ingrained aspects of the world economy highlight that, while considerable victories have been attained to achieve a more just, prosperous and equitable world, attempts at reforms and aids are not without their drawbacks. 

The controversy surrounding the involvement of religious aid organizations may politicize and undermine efforts to eliminate poverty and obtain relief. Attempts to regulate small scale gold mining, while environmentally necessary, may fail to address the dilemma of gold demand in shaping the persistence of artisans gold mining. Efforts to democratize and increase the transparency of the international trade regime may succeed in incorporating sustainability as a core principal of global commerce, but tedious institutional reform may not reflect the urgency of climate change. Alongside the IDC 2017’s thematic discussions, which will explore these and more concrete development efforts through a critical lens, the conference will also host a selection of Canadian NGOs, businesses, and student researchers to showcase the diversity and innovation of new ideas and efforts shaping the development sectors today. 


Saturday, February 11 • 15:45 - 17:45
Saviour Complex: Navigating Religion's Messy History and Current Role in Development

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Religious institutions have a messy and complicated history in development. Today, many development practitioners and institutions continue to be based in religion - but not without tension.  Churches, mosques and other religious institutions are often the best positioned to know a community’s needs and respond accordingly. Local religious groups have the respect and recognition in the community that other development organizations spend years and even decades trying to achieve. Yet religious development organizations can also find themselves in a difficult tension between development and religion when the two seem to be in opposition, causing many to throw religion out of development practice indefinitely. Where does religion sit within the field of development? When does it act as a barrier, when is it the only open door to lifting people out of poverty, and how do development practitioners navigate between the two?



Director, Centre for Critical Development Studies | Associate Professor, University of TorontoPaul Kingston is interested in the politics and power that underpin the dynamics of development and/or underdevelopment. He approaches this from the discipline of political science but with... Read More →



Director of Programs, International Development and Relief Foundation


Program Coordinator, Master of Theological Studies in Development | Professor, Wycliffe CollegeDavid has been teaching courses at Wycliffe College since 2009, and is Director of the Urban and International Development program. He is also senior partner at Kabisa International and... Read More →


Katherine Marshall is a senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, where she leads the Center's program on Religion and Global Development, and Professor of the Practice of Development, Conflict, and Religion at Georgetown University. After a long... Read More →


Country Director, Compassion Guatemala

Saturday February 11, 2017 15:45 - 17:45
MW 140

Attendees (7)