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Notre Dame to host 10th annual development conference

| Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Kellogg Institute for International Studies will be hosting the 10th annual Human Development Conference this Friday and Saturday in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies. Titled “Decades of Development: Contextualizing the Past and Visualizing the Future,” co–chairs senior Tommy Emmet and senior Abigail Midlige said they are looking forward to incorporating elements of past years‘ conferences and former leaders in the conference.

“We’ve invited some of the past chairs, some of which are in development, some of which aren’t, to participate in this year’s conference,” Emmet said.

Midlige said the conference will be focused on a retrospective look at the progress of development as well as how development will continue to evolve in the future.

Ray Offenheiser, Director of the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development, will serve as the conference’s keynote speaker. Offenheiser performed this role at the inaugural conference a decade ago.

The conference, unique for it’s exclusive undergraduate focus, provides a platform for students from across the country to share and integrate their research with students from a variety of disciplines.

“It’s a conference by undergraduates, for undergraduates,” Emmet said. “We’re involved in every level of the planning.”

Midlige said the conference is meant to encourage participants to consider their own futures in the field of international development.

“We’re really trying to ask our participants how they can play an effective role in the direction of development in the future,” Midlige said.

Emmet noted some universities have strong relationships with the conference but this year he and Midlige emphasized reaching out to universities and programs with less–established connections to the conference. Of the 55 expected presenters, 33 are non–Notre Dame students from other schools including Rice, Harvard, Morehouse College, the University of Chicago and George Washington University.

Following the keynote address, the majority of the conference will consist of 15 various panels featuring three presenters each as well as a Notre Dame faculty member or previous conference co-chair serving as a moderator. At past conferences there have been several group projects presented but this year all projects were conducted individually.

“Research topics range from healthcare to economics to migration to many other disciplines. People from the audience ask questions and then a faculty moderator will provide insight and relate the three different research projects,” Midlige said.

Emmet and Midlige both got involved with the conference their sophomore year and served as co–chairs of the conference’s liaison committee last year. They were selected as co–chairs last April and have been planning ever since. Midlige said they both spent this past summer conducting field work as International Development minors and had to Skype each other from Uganda, where Midlige was working, to Sierra Leone, where Emmet was working, to discuss the conference theme and logistics. As co–chairs they oversee a team of 20 members within five committees that include logistics, marketing and photo exhibition.

Emmet and Midlige said they are most excited for the live concert starring the Chicago Afrobeat Project in the Jenkins–Nanovic foyer. This event is open to the public and will follow the closing ceremony for conference presenters on Saturday evening.

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