November 1st has been proclaimed Global Action Day by Seattle mayor Mike McGinn. It is an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of our state’s global development sector and work for more collaboration and increased impact worldwide. The local organizations involved in global development include Global Washington, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Partnerships, and the Initiative for Global Development.
Way back in the day, global development (called economic development back then) was my field of research in graduate school and my dissertation was in the field – “The Demand for Labor on Small Farms in Less Developed Countries: Implications for Employment Generation.” You can tell how old that is – Less Developed Countries is not a term we use anymore! Emerging Nations is the proper term these days. When I was on the faculty at Creighton, each year I would teach the International Economic Development course to undergraduate students.
Now, of course, I am not doing research and teaching in global development, but we have three economists on our faculty who are -- Meena Rishi, Quan Le, and Claus Pörtner. This is a significant commitment on the part of the Albers School to this important sector.
More importantly, we are offering the International Economic Development (IED) specialization and minor to undergraduate students. These programs allow students to take specialized coursework in the area, and students also must combine that with a complementary experience – study abroad in an emerging nation or an internship with an NGO doing development work.
Fortunately, our IED program can draw upon the global development sector here in Seattle. Although we would prefer IED students to go abroad, when that is not possible there is a long list of local organizations they can work with. We are very fortunate in that regard, as there are few metro areas in the nation that offer a global development sector to draw upon.
It is easy to see how the IED is at the heart of the SU mission. If we are truly to be “leaders for a just and humane world,” a key concern must be how to raise the standard of living for so many of the world’s people. If we are concerned about global education, the issue of global development has to be one of the greatest challenges to address. Today, we have 15 economics majors specializing in IED and 9 IED minors. It is great to see so many SU students inspired to engage so deeply with the global development challenge.