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Human Development &
Capability Association

Multi-Disciplinary and People-Centred

2015 HDCA Conference – Georgetown University

The HDCA Welcomes Georgetown Faculty, Students and Staff to attend events as part of the 2015 Conference “Capabilities on the Move: Mobility and Aspirations.”

September 10-13, 2015
Georgetown University
Washington, DC

See event information and descriptions below.

Georgetown students, faculty and staff are invited to the pre-conference events taking place on Thursday, Sept. 10, prior to the opening of the conference itself at 5:00 p.m. that day. Please visit the pre-conference webpage here to view the workshops and talks happening that day. Space is limited!

Members of the Georgetown community are also invited to attend plenary sessions featuring keynote speakers in Gaston Hall and
panel sessions featuring the sharing of research by leading scholars taking place in Copley Hall. (Please click here to see descriptions of panel sessions.) GU ID is required for entry.


Plenary Sessions (location: Gaston Hall)

1.     Aspirations Symposium

Thursday 9/10, 5-6:30 pm
Caroline Sarojini Hart, Martha C. Nussbaum, and Debraj Ray

Human aspirations express people’s deepest hopes, revealing a psychology and a pattern of valuing that is richer and more complex than that of simple desires.  Capturing this depth and subtlety of motivation and evaluation is a challenge for economic theory, for empirical understanding more generally, and for philosophical accounts that attempt to articulate our fundamental commitments to justice and human flourishing.  Each of our distinguished symposiasts takes up this challenge in a distinctive sphere and in a distinctive way.

2.     2015 Amartya K. Sen Lecture

Friday 9/11, 10-11 am
James Heckman, Nobel Laureate in Economics (The University of Chicago)
“Creating Flourishing Lives: The Dynamics of Capability Formation”

This lecture presents recent research on the economics of creating flourishing lives.  The implications of this research for the design of effective policies are discussed.

3.     2015 Mahbub ul Haq Lecture

Friday 9/11, 5:15-6:15 pm
Ernesto Zedillo, Former President of Mexico (Yale University)
“Tales from Latin America and Africa: Growing Policy Challenges at a Time of Vanishing Tailwinds”

This lecture will observe that the recent period of significant improvements in key social indicators in regions such as Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa have been driven, not exclusively but certainly significantly, both by better terms of trade and by the adoption of unprecedentedly effective social policies –like the conditional cash transfers programs. It will argue that such improvements, in the absence of more ambitious structural reforms, could stall or even reverse now that the commodity super-cycle is over, and that the impact of the innovative social programs either have entered their diminishing returns phase, in some cases, or, in others, are at risk of being interrupted or at least dwindling for fiscal reasons.

4.     A Dialogue on Justice and AspirationFriday 9/11, 6:30-7:15 pm
Martha C. Nussbaum, and Amartya K. Sen

Professors Nussbaum and Sen have agreed to an extraordinary plenary session in which they discuss one of the main issues on which their interpretations of the capability approach appear to diverge.

5.     Migration Panel

Saturday 9/12, 10-11:30 am
“International Migration and Human Development”

International migration and development intersect in many ways. The development process affects whether and how people move across international borders; migration in turn affects the development of both source and destination countries. In this session, four prominent experts in migration and development will discuss the interconnections between migration and development, its relevance to the post 2015 development agenda, and ways to enhance the human development and capabilities of migrants, their countries of origin and countries of destination.

The panelists include:

  • Hein de Haas, Professor of Sociology, University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
  • Peggy Levitt,  Professor of Sociology, Wellesley College
  • Kathleen Newland, Director, Migrants, Migration, and Development, Migration Policy Institute
  • Dilip Ratha, Director, Lead economist and Manager of the Migration and Remittances Unit, World Bank. Founder and Head of the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), World Bank
  • Moderator: Susan F. Martin, Donald G. Herzberg Professor of International Migration, Georgetown University

6.     2015 Martha C. Nussbaum Lecture

Saturday 9/12, 4-5 pm
Seyla Benhabib, Professor of Political Science and Philosophy (Yale University)
“Democratic Iterations and Cosmopolitan Human Rights: A New Paradigm for the Dialectic of Law and Politics”

This lecture examines how we can interpret the relationship between democratic sovereignty and transnational legal order in a new age.  Critiquing the “new sovereigntism” and arguing that transnational human rights norms strengthen rather than weaken democratic sovereignty, this lecture will challenge us to think beyond the binarisms of the cosmopolitan versus the civic republican; democratic versus the international and transnational; democratic sovereignty versus human rights law.

7. World Bank Panel

Sunday 9/13, 10-11:30 am
“The Role of Governments and Markets in Promoting Mobility and Ending Poverty”

In 2013, the World Bank Group (WBG) declared two goals: ending extreme poverty by 2030 and achieving shared prosperity. This session will discuss the roles the government and the market will have to play to achieve these goals. What are the policies that can facilitate upward mobility among the poor? How much should we rely on growth and how much on targeted interventions? Empirical findings suggest that economic growth raises the incomes of the poor, but is that enough? In this session, leaders from the WBG will highlight some of the ongoing research related to the above questions, and will also introduce the audience to the open questions and challenges which the WBG currently confronts.

The panelists include World Bank Group leaders:

  • Shantayanan Devarajan Chief Economist, Middle East and North Africa Region
  • Francisco H.G. Ferreira, Senior Advisor, Development Research Group
  • Emanuela Galasso,Senior Economist, Development Research Group
  • Aart C. Kraay, Senior Advisor, Development Research Group
  • Moderator: Kaushik Basu, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President

The session is being organized by Kaushik Basu and Garance Genicot.

Research Presentations by leading scholars (location: Copley Hall unless otherwise noted):

1.     Motivating Civic Action and Consumer Agency

Friday 9/11, 11:15 am
Nada Eissa, James Habyarimana and William Jack (Georgetown University)

Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy professors Nada Eissa and James Habyarimana, and Professor of Economics William Jack present three papers on motivating civic agency, based on the results of controlled experiments conducted by Georgetown faculty and students in communities in Kenya. Research focuses on the effects of media on personal aspirations, safety and health in these communities.

2. Ethics of War and Peace

Friday 9/11, 1:45 pm
Deen Chatterjee (University of Utah, US); Cheyney Ryan (University of Oxford); Lyn Boyd-Judson (University of Southern California)

The panel features some of the leading figures in the debate on the moral issues of warfare. In discussing the ethical challenges of peace and war in a world continually torn by conflict and violence, the panelists will offer theoretical analysis as well as policy guidelines.

This panel is sponsored by the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

3.     Intersectoral Collaboration in Old Fadama (Accra, Ghana): Roundtable Session

Friday 9/11, 3:45 pm
Jessica Kritz (Georgetown University); Bernhard Liese (Georgetown University); George Adjei (National Catholic Health Service);  Simpson Anim Boateng (Accra Metropolitan Assembly); Mathew Dapila (Accra Metropolitan Assembly); Margaret Gyapong (Ghana Health Service); Toyibu Immoro (Accra Metropolitan Assembly); George Mensah (Accra Metropolitan Assembly); Matilda Sorkpor (Handmaids of the Divine Redeemer); Myriam Vuckovic (Georgetown University)

The purpose of this Roundtable Session is to engage the participants in a cross-sector conversation to address health-related challenges in Old Fadama, the largest informal settlement in Accra, Ghana. Policymakers, governmental stakeholders, Catholic health workers and scholars from Ghana and the international community will engage in a discussion of migration, access to services, and ways of strengthening a public-private partnership to address related challenges.

4.     Gendered Mobilities: Education, Capabilities and Aspiration

Saturday 9/12, 8:30 am

Elaine Unterhalter (University College London, Institute of Education, UK); Joan DeJaeghere (University of Minnesota; Erin Murphy-Graham (University of California, Berkeley); Melanie Walker and Sonja Loots (University of the Free State)

The panel consists of four papers all of which address the issues of gendered forms of exclusion, and the ways in which education institutions are associated with geographic, pedagogic and aspirational mobilities. All the papers draw on empirical data and consider the findings from empirical studies in relation to debates relating to gender, education and aspiration as capability and functioning.

5.     Are the World's Poorest Being Left Behind? Economic and Philosophical Perspectives

Saturday 9/12, 11:45 am
Martin Ravallion (Georgetown University); Henry Richardson (Georgetown University); James Foster (George Washington University)

We hear very different answers to the question posed in the panel's title. Traditional assessments of progress against poverty suggest substantial gains for the world's poor over the last 30 years. Yet other observers argue that the poorest have not been reached. In this panel, Professor of Economics James Foster and Professor of Philosophy Henry Richardson will respond to renowned economist Martin Ravallion’s new paper, "Are the World's Poorest Being Left Behind?" During the session, Dr. Ravallion will present key findings and Drs. Foster and Richardson will discuss the various approaches that can be taken in response.

6.     Capabilities Approach to Justice for Nonhuman Animals

Saturday 9/12, 2:15 pm
Amy T Linch (Penn State, US); Jeremy Bendik-Keymer (Case Western University); Jozef Keulartz (Wageningen University) and Jacques Swart (University of Groningen); Martha Nussbaum (University of Chicago Law School) and Rachel Nussbaum Wichert (University of Washington Law School)

Human mobility and development affect and are impacted by transformation of the natural environment in ways that highlight the global interdependence among humans and between humans and nonhuman animals. The three papers presented in this session take the capabilities approach developed by Martha Nussbaum as a basis of justice and entitlement for nonhuman animals.

7.     Wellbeing, Agency and Aspirations in the Slums of Buenos Aires

Saturday 9/12, 6:00 pm
Severine Deneulin (University of Bath); Ann Mitchell (Catholic University of Argentina), Pablo del Monte (Universidad de Buenos Aires);  Eduardo Lepore (Catholic University of Argentina); Ana Lourdes Suarez (Catholic University of Argentina)

The 2010/11 UN State of the World City Report on the Urban Divide named Buenos Aires, Argentina as among the most unequal cities in the world, with ten percent of its 15 million residents living in shanty towns or informal settlements. This panel presents four papers that highlight aspects of the capability approach that help us understand the city’s pattern of urban inequality and segregation, and frame possible interventions which can lead to a better distribution of wellbeing opportunities.

8.     Children, Education and Local Systems

Sunday 9/13, 11:45 am
Caroline Sarojini Hart (University of Sheffield, UK); Luisa Deprez (University of Southern Maine), Diane Wood (Towson University); Mario Biggeri (University of Florence)

Social policies should encourage proactive behavior of children in decision-making processes. Fostering children’s participation is central to the process of evolving capabilities. By fostering the acquisition of communicative competence, ‘complex thinking’ and a dialogical attitude, the capability approach offers a counter narrative to education understood as building human capital. This panel discusses the theoretical advantages and challenges of education policies based on the capability approach. It then examines theoretically how educational systems should be linked to local systems and finally it provides the results of research carried out in UK which underlines the importance of contextual factors in influencing children's capabilities.

9.  Book Presentation: Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis

Sunday 9/13, 2:00 pm
Sabina Alkire (University of Oxford); James Foster (George Washington University); Suman Seth (University of Oxford); Maria Emma Santos (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas); Jose Manuel Roche (Save the Children); Paola Ballon (Universidad del Pacifico)

This panel presents the highlights of a book just out from Oxford University Press, entitled Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis. The book introduces the framework for multidimensional measurement and provides a lucid overview of the problems that a range of multidimensional techniques can address. This panel offers a critical overview of the major existing methods for measuring multidimensional poverty and highlights new measures and approaches to analyzing inequality.

10.  Migration, Capabilities and Human Security: Exploring New Approaches

Friday 9/11, 8:30 am
Susan Martin (Georgetown University); Hein de Haas (University of Oxford); Jørgen Carling (Peace Research Institute Oslo); Des Gasper (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Giulia Sinatt (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

This panel examines migration theory and processes in relationship to aspirations, capabilities and human security. It seeks to re-conceptualize international migration through the lens of human development. Hein de Haas, in his paper "Migration Theory: Quo Vadis?",proposes a meta-theoretical framework that sees migration as a function of aspirations and capabilities to migrate within a given set of opportunity structures. Jørgen Carling, in "What do people want when they want to migrate? Implications of a capabilities-oriented approach to migration," examines theoretical issues at the core of a capabilities-centered approach to migration and draws upon a range of empirical examples. Des Gasper and Giulia Sinatt, in "Investigating Migration within a Human Security Framework," highlights contributions from human security analysis to migration studies; the paper also discusses possible weaknesses, gaps and areas for new work. These three papers have import not only for migration theory but also policies related to migration and development.

11.  Roundtable on Forced Migration and Human Development

Friday 9/11, 1:45 pm - 3:15 pm and 3:45 pm - 5:00 pm
*NOTE: This session will take place over two sessions in Salon B, Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center

Development and displacement is two-way relationship. Development has an impact on movements of refugees and internally displaced persons; displacement has an impact on development for household, communities and states. Within this context, there is need for new approaches to displacement that recognize long-term development goals. Similarly, development actors need to be more cognizant of the impacts of forced migration in their planning process. The roundtable will bring together researchers, practitioners and policymakers to discuss ways to integrate efforts to serve the needs of displaced people and meet development goals in underserved areas.

Moderator: Susan Martin, Donald G. Herzberg Professor of International Migration in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
Anne Richard, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State, Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration.
Jeremy Konyndyk, Director, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, US Agency for International Development.
Elizabeth Ferris, Adjunct Professor in the School of Foreign Service and Senior Fellow with the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University.
Alexandra Bilak, Head of Policy and Research, Internal Displacement Monitoring Center.
Michelle Leighton, Chief of the Labor Migration Branch, International Labor Organization.

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