Past Collaboration Achievements and Expectations in NDDS: The Southern View
Moonga H. Mumba, PhD
Head of Department of Development Studies
University of Zambia
Looking back as a PhD candidate then who directly benefited from the past project and later as an active team member representing one of the partner institutions in the HEI ICI Developing Development Studies project which involved IDS Helsinki University and Jyvaskyla University in Finland and three universities in the South; IDS Dar es Salaam, Dodoma University and the University of Zambia, I am excited that I again part of the rekindled relationship. Besides assisting and tracking progress for PhD candidates, striking accomplishments in the past collaboration involved attending workshops on pedagogical skills, research methodology and academic writing, mentorship by senior academics on Surviving the Academia, book publication, building and maintaining institutional links, support to curriculum review, managing a project cycle in academia, among many other things. The journey together was worth it.
NDDS takes a deep reflection premised on the realization that the current paradigms and curricula in Development Studies around the world have become outdated and detached. The project brings on board a fresh look with great expectations and hope that future teachers and researchers from the partner institutions to embrace to further enrich Development Studies scholarly debates that should anchor development policy and practice for sustainability. NDDS has interesting themes and elements linking global challenges with local realities such as critical approaches to Sustainable Development Goals, their localisation, and alignment with the African Union’s long-term development plan, Vision 2063; Decolonisation or re-colonisation of development: Conceptualization of North-South relationships in the intersection of history and future; Tackling challenges such as Covid-19, corruption, climate change, displacements, trade, and investments in the context of globalization; and Exploring new narratives and alternative approaches to development. I am confident that forging links with renewed energy and lenses, we will make it and we shall all proudly be part of that history creation. Welcome on board everyone.
The NDDS project kicked off on November 25th with an online event hosted by Jyväskylä University. The event opened with words from the organizer for the event and NDDS organizing team member, Associate Professor Tiina Kontinen. This was followed by a welcome from Professor Tapio Litmanen, Vice Dean for Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Jyväskylä University. He lauded the project as an excellent example of global collaboration and the type of project that JYU and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences encourages. He highlighted the important need for approaching the future of development studies and the future competencies development studies graduates will need in order to deal with the great problems facing the globe, such as the climate emergency and political crises. He also applauded the approach of global co-creation of knowledge and how important it is to the future of the field and to the JYU Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
This was followed by a brief round of introductions by all the participants, and then an opening speech from Professor Moonga Mumba, Director of the Department of Development Studies at University of Zambia (a copy of his speech will be included in a separate post).
There were then words from Dr. Colman Msoka, Director of the Institute of Development Studies at University of Dar es Salaam, Dr. Rehema Kilonzo, Senior Lecturer of Sociology at University of Dodoma, and Dr. Barry Gills, Professor of Global Development Studies at University of Helsinki. They pointed to how the field of Development Studies is under threat despite being needed to face numerous pressing global challenges, with many programs being shut down or absorbed by other programs. The question was raised if Development Studies, as it stands, is fit for purpose? It was put forward that there is a pressing need to recognize the histories and realities of the field, to keep in mind our responsibilities as a discipline, and to orient ourselves to address the pressing global crises while keeping in mind the consequences of what we do.
Prior to the event, Professor Henning Melber, the President of the President of the European Assocation of Development Research and Training Institutions, recorded a talk for the group to spark discussion about the field of Development Studies and the future of the field. In the next section, participants went into breakout rooms to discuss the speech from Professor Melber, then came together in a plenary discussion to bring forward what they agreed with, what they disagreed with, and what they felt was missing. Which then transitioned into a broader discussion of aspects that participants feel should be addressed in the project but might not have been put forward.
The kickoff wrapped up with a Zoom group photo (in this post) and everyone looking forward to our next event, hosted online by University of Dodoma in April 2023!