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. 




Adjunct Professor with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto

Dr. Angela Li-Muller specializes in environmental health and regulatory toxicology, evaluating the impact on human health from exposures to chemicals from air, water, or soil. Over the years working at the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Toronto Public Health and Health Canada, Dr. Li-Muller has been involved as a scientist developing regulations, guidance and policy documents. She has acted as an expert witness and as a problem solver during environmental crises. In addition, she has provided front-line advice on risk assessment and management to concerned citizens and groups. Dr. Li-Muller published in peer-reviewed journals and government reports including reports on risk assessment guidance at contaminated sites, case specific health risk assessments and other studies. Dr. Li-Muller is currently serving as Adjunct Professor with the Dalla School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. In 2015, Dr. Li-Muller was awarded Health Canada Contaminated Sites Division's Instant Award for leadership in developing guidance on human health risk assessment for short duration chemical exposures at contaminated sites.

Dr. Li-Muller has led and participated in a number of projects on health assessments and management of mercury at the local, national and international levels including: development of blood/hair reference level for methyl mercury in humans, development of fish consumption advice for women of childbearing age and young children, input into Canada-wide Standards for mercury, study impact of air mercury emission from a crematorium. She also contributed to Canada's negotiation position towards Minamata Convention for Mercury.