One billion people today still live in extreme poverty. Reducing world poverty and promoting growth and development in poor countries are among the major challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Bringing about this change has never been more urgent or more prominent in public discourse on international relations, or in the priorities of graduate students considering their future careers.
Since the early 1990s, development practitioners and policy makers have significantly evolved in their views of what constitutes “development” — from an exclusive focus on metrics of economic growth and poverty reduction to a more holistic sense of “human development.” Nobel laureate Amartya Sen is best known for his pioneering work on the need for a more inclusive framework that promotes human flourishing in the fullest sense, including broadening people’s choices, allowing them the freedom to achieve what they value and the development of their individual capacities to achieve human dignity.
The task of merging an academic experience with a professional deliverable is admittedly a difficult one, but I think it was managed extremely well by faculty and staff. It resulted, for me, in one of the more meaningful intellectual and professional experiences I have had to date. I cannot imagine a more supportive environment to grow and blossom into a development professional than GHD, and I think this is a standout asset of the program.”
– Peter Cook, GHD’14
Experts and seasoned practitioners in development today confirm that the field of international development requires professionals with a basic knowledge of development, strong analytic skills, specialized knowledge of particular areas of development and relevant skills that come from direct experience working in development.
Successful professionals in development must be trained in a variety of relevant disciplines. They must have strong quantitative and analytical skills. They must have a familiarity with one or more specialized areas of development, such as social enterprise, food security, refugees/humanitarian response, education, or environment/climate change. They must be flexible and able to work in a variety of types of organizations, which is what they will surely do in the course of their careers. And they must understand, both through their studies and their practical experience in development realities, the complexities and the challenges – as well as the rewards – of operating as a development professional. This degree seeks to provide its graduates with all of these competencies and more.
We interviewed GHD first-year student Eric Chu about his experience in the GHD program, the Pickering Fellowship, and his career plans. What class do you particularly enjoy at GHD and why? My favorite course thus far has been the GHD Political
GHD alumna Milan Kaur (GHD ’18) and Mai Nguyen (GHD ’18) recently produced a report for the Brookings Institution on the role of the business sector in the delivery of the SDGs through the lens of corporate sustainability. The report was produced as part of the pair’s capstone project, a requirement of the Global Human Development Program that involves client engagement and management analysis.
GHD ’17 Alum Shane Mulligan shares about the coffee company he started, his non-traditional career path, and advice for current and future GHD students.
GHD ’19 Student Representatives brought together experienced development practitioners and SFS students for an important conversation on #MeToo, #AidToo, and the way forward.