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. 




Program Coordinator, Master of Theological Studies in Development | Professor, Wycliffe College

David 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 at eCurious, where he helps NGOs with innovation and strategy, research and evaluation, and capacity building. He teaches as an adjunct faculty member in the Conrad Grebel / University of Waterloo Master of Peace and Conflict Studies, as well as in Humber College’s graduate diploma in International Development Management. David is into complex and integrated tapestries—seeking to interweave vibrant faith, academic excellence and professional effectiveness into the worlds of social change, community development and aid. Over the past 32 years he has had opportunity to be a listener, facilitator, manager, researcher and trainer with organizations, church agencies and humanitarian projects in 25 countries. David has authored academic, industry and popular publications in the fields of biblical studies, poverty and theology, global issues, faith-based humanitarian organizations, urbanization, community development, environment, gender and NGO management. David is married and has three adult children. If you can’t find David, he’s somewhere in an urban community project with a group of students. Or he’s happily sweating another NGO through birth pangs into its next strategic era. (He also may have snuck off to his woodworking shop, or disappeared among the islands of Georgian Bay.)