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. 




Jose Abad-Puelles was formerly the Category and Supply Chain Specialist for Coffee at Fairtrade Canada and now presently serves as the Coffee Account Manager for Canada. Jose was raised in a small farm in Northern Peru; there, he experienced all the challenges and struggles that small farmers face in the developing world; that experience made him develop a strong passion for agriculture and rural development. He began his career working on international trade negotiations and promoting alternative sustainable agriculture practices in the Andean region. Then, he worked for USAID as a capacity development consultant on trade and development in Latin America. After that, he worked in Peru managing and supervising development projects funded by international aid organizations. In Canada, after doing research on Fair Trade and its impact on small coffee farmers, he joined Fairtrade Canada as a Coffee Specialist. Jose and Fairtrade Canada share the same believes that empowerment and social justice are key elements for international development.