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. 



Ian Willms (Attendance TBD, but photos will be exhibited)

Ian Willms photographs the marks left upon communities by the passage of time and the intimacies of inevitable compromise. He communicates the emotional environment surrounding his subjects through an immersive and lyrical approach to any subject matter. Based in Toronto, Willms is a founding member of Boreal Collective and is represented commercially by NAMARA. He has carried out assignments internationally, contributing to The New York Times, The International New York Times, Harper’s, TIME, The New Yorker, The Guardian Magazine and The Globe and Mail, among others. Willms holds an Honours Diploma in Photojournalism, previously worked as a contract photographer at The Toronto Star and completed the Reportage by Getty Images Emerging Talent mentorship.