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Supporting policy-oriented learning for development cooperation

Published on 12 August 2020

A recent IDS initiative with partners in China has helped to strengthen cross-country networks and foster future leadership for development globally.

Global development is at a turning point. Traditional approaches to development are being increasingly questioned by governments, practitioners and academics, and new development actors are emerging, generating opportunities to explore how development policy and practice may move ‘beyond aid’. As emerging powers, such as China, become active providers of development assistance, there has never been a more important time to share knowledge on global development policy and practice and bring lessons from the past into the future.

For two weeks in July 2020, a group of 27 development students and professionals from UK and Chinese organisations came together to participate in the Global Development Policy and Perspective professional development course. The ten-day intensive online course was developed specifically for professionals interested in development cooperation, to help foster mutual learning networks and future leadership for development. It was delivered by IDS in partnership with the China International Development Research Network as part of the UK Anchor Institution programme.

Through an innovative blend of live interactive seminars, real world case studies, small group problem solving exercises and peer-to-peer learning, the course equipped participants with knowledge about current thinking and practice on global development issues.

 “This course has surpassed my expectations in every ramification: organisation, quality of presentations and breadth of materials, the level of interaction and discourse amongst participants and the potential for further collaborations.” (Course participant)

The course provided a platform for the formation of a knowledge network that discusses development issues that go beyond national interests. It is crucial to know others’ viewpoints and their approaches to embark on a fruitful exchange of experience.

“Global challenges require global responses and local solutions. There is a pressing need for people to build up the capacity to better understand and better participate in global and national development.  Networks and dialogue forums, like this professional development course, build an essential foundation to share responsibilities and build mutual trust and understanding.” (Jing Gu, IDS Fellow and Course Director).

Sessions were delivered by world leading experts and explored key themes including globalisation in historical perspectives; aid and poverty; business and development; climate change; global governance; women’s empowerment; health and nutrition; and urbanisation.

The course really touches a lot of topics of the global development. Thank you for inviting such world-leading scholars to give the lectures.” (Course participant)

IDS’ collaboration with the China International Development Research Network aims to build upon the increasing need for strong and regular collaborative links between researchers in the UK and in China to build long-term cooperation on a variety of development research topics. Linked to this is The China Global Development Knowledge Network, an online, knowledge-sharing initiative to encourage and facilitate the sharing of research knowledge on China’s role in global development (due to be launched September 2020).  This programme of work also includes the China and Global Development seminar series.

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