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Human Development &
Capability Association

Multi-Disciplinary and People-Centred

HDCA Fellows Highlight Implications of Dignity for International Development

NOTRE DAME, IN - On October 22-24, several HDCA fellows were major contributors to the second international Human Dignity and Human Development Conference hosted by the University of Notre Dame's Kellogg Institute for International Studies. The conference is part of a multi-year research initiative investigating the role of human dignity in the practice of international development.

Séverine Deneulin, HDCA secretary and senior lecturer in International Development at the University of Bath Centre for Development Studies, related dignity, agency, and solidarity in her remarks during the opening plenary. She suggested solidarity as a way of conceptualizing how development can enhance agency, outlining a relational method of accompaniment for development practice.

“In some sense, dignity is the foundation for the enterprise of deliberation, of collective agency,” said David Crocker, HDCA fellow and senior research scholar at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. He elaborated on the method by which deliberative participation expresses and advances agency.

Jay Drydyk, professor of philosophy at Carleton University and HDCA fellow, added “striving to live well” as a means for relating capability and dignity. “Justice should be a moving target,” he said. “Striving to live well is enhanced only if agency is enhanced.”

In addition, HDCA member Lori Keleher, coordinator for the Ethics and Development Thematic Group and associate professor of philosophy at New Mexico State University, explored how dignity serves as the foundation for integral human development -- development that “promotes the good of the whole person and of all people.”

At the conference, more than 20 development practitioners and scholars examined the implications of human dignity for development theory and practice, considering whether human dignity can serve as a common connector among predominant development frameworks, including the capability, wellbeing, and happiness approaches.

"Approaching human development from the perspective of human dignity serves as a locus across differences that might otherwise be intractable in the global environment," said Kellogg Institute Director and legal scholar Paolo Carozza, who leads the initiative.

Part of a series of gatherings that make up the larger research initiative, the conference aspires to produce viable recommendations for implementing the emphasis on human dignity explicit in the United Nations’ post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

The Kellogg Institute for International Studies, part of the University of Notre Dame's new Keough School of Global Affairs, is an interdisciplinary community of scholars and students from across the University and around the world that promotes research, provides educational opportunities, and builds linkages related to two topics critical to our world -- democracy and human development.


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