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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. 

 

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DR.BRIDGET BERGQUIST

The primary aim of her research program is to increase our understanding of the biogeochemical cycles that are important for life on Earth and how these cycles have evolved over time through the use of trace metal and stable isotope geochemistry. Besides the inherent importance of metals in the environment (i.e., in their roles as nutrients or toxins), the chemistry of metals is often linked to, or plays a controlling role in, environmental processes including carbon cycling, ocean circulation, and weathering and transport of chemicals in nature. Understanding metals in the environment is especially important in a changing world where human activities are perturbing many natural cycles and will have impacts on our food sources, health, and climate. Combining research on metal biogeochemistry (both laboratory and field) with studies of natural metal isotopic variations has the potential to yield insights into the modern global cycles of metals as well as past conditions on Earth. Specifically, she is using this approach to improve our understanding of the Fe cycle of the ocean, Hg biogeochemical cycling and bioaccumulation, and also Ca weathering and transport.