Below are course descriptions for current MIDP courses. MIDP fellows have the option to take courses from other schools and units across Duke and beyond, and are encouraged to meet with their academic advisers to plan their studies. MIDP 2021 Spring Course Schedule is available and visit DukeHub for a full list of courses. 

MIDP Seminars: Spring

This course taps into the growing evidence that the distinctive way humans think is in story. “Good” stories have a much higher “stick-iness” factor: they are structured so that insights stick in the minds of the audiences that drew those insights. Stories invite numerous sorts of partnerships and processes: readers come to think and live in someone else’s world and develop deeper powers to hear others who might never be heard, or never be heard in that way; storytellers have incentives to consider the needs of those who are following their stories. Using a broad array of storytelling mediums, this course tracks how stories told about poverty or development strategically can add to our ability to understand poverty and to conduct development more effectively. Amongst the narrative frameworks we have considered are memoir, short story, short doc, radio essay, telenovela, community theatre, TED talks, spoken word, songs, nationally-followed talk shows like the one hosted by Aamir Khan in India, extracts from novels, multi-media performance including dance, children’s story and film (Bollywood, Nollywood, Hollywood and independents). The course is intended for MIDP and MPP Fellows and others who are seeking out creative ways to analyze our practice more insightfully and who wish to be exposed to numerous communications and translation strategies that we might put into practice professionally.

A significant proportion of international development assistance is offered in the form of complex projects that are characterized in part by their uniqueness and by the need for predetermined results to be delivered over a finite period within severe constraints. The management of such projects is challenging and quite different from the management of repetitive day-to-day operations. In addition, the environment for international development projects presents further challenges for the project manager. To succeed in delivering on expectations, projects must begin with an understanding of the context followed by thorough planning with real participation, careful design using a robust framework, and realistic estimations of time and costs.

In this seminar we will first take a high-level view of the project life cycle, understanding the value of well-structured project management processes in planning the project, scheduling project activities, creating the right project team and achieving successful implementation within the constraints of scope, time, cost and quality. Taking a closer look, we will explore in some detail three of the most important phases of the project life cycle—project identification, project design and implementation planning—before considering the role of the project manager in building and leading the project team, managing risk and monitoring and controlling implementation towards a successful conclusion.

This course focuses on the difficult choices governments need to make to improve service provision in a wide range of sectors from public utilities and transportation to health and education services.  These choices include the range of contractual and organizational modalities for providing services: from government owned and operated (GOO) corporations or projects to regulated private corporations and some new forms of outsourcing through national and international NGOs.  An important modality in current times is the Public Private Partnership (PPP).  How to design and analyze these partnerships is the core of this course. 

Exactly how governance, economic growth, and poverty reduction are interrelated is a subject of much controversy.  The first part of this course will explore questions such as “What is governance?”  “What does good governance mean?”  “How is it measured?”  “What is the relationship among governance, growth, and poverty reduction?”  “Does good governance necessarily mean democratic governance?”  From there, the course will move on to selected topics central to the good governance agenda, including public sector reform, corruption, and decentralization.  The course will end with a look at global influences on developing country governance, including the contested role of aid and the dilemmas posed by fragile states.  Students will be asked to choose a developing country for which they will develop governance diagnostics and analyses, and a governance action plan by the end of the semester.  Two papers, the country governance action plan, and short oral presentations will be part of the class requirements.

This course covers the theory and provides practical applications of fiscal decentralization, intergovernmental transfers, local resource mobilization and local borrowing. Special attention is paid to the practical aspects of designing and implementing effective fiscal decentralization reforms to improve efficiency and accountability within the public sector.

This course is designed to teach the fundamentals of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) for social programs.  All organizations implementing development programs put in place systems to track program accomplishments.  These M&E systems are driven by different objectives, such as accountability to donors for money spent, or learning about successes and challenges in implementation. The course is aimed at practitioners who wish to develop and/or understand methods for measuring the results of social programs.  This course will teach students how to set up M&E systems that foster data-driven decision making.  In addition to books and articles, we will use cases from donors, non-profits and others to cover technical aspects of M&E, including developing a comprehensive program logic, choosing ‘good’ indicators and targets, and designing an appropriate evaluation. 

Focuses on the policies, procedures, and skills needed for effective budgeting and financial management in the public sector. Core topics to be covered in the course include budget systems and controls, public sector accounting and costing, financial reporting for accountability, and capital budgeting and debt management. The course provides the analytical skills needed to understand the links between budgeting and the macro-fiscal framework, the political decision-making process, and the interests of citizens. The emphasis is on the theory and international practice of budgeting, with particular application to developing countries. Issues of program and performance budgeting, participatory budgeting and citizen accountability, and decentralized fiscal systems will be discussed.

This course will review the main literature, methods, conceptual tools and types of policy recommendations associated with Global Value Chain (GVC) analysis. Globalization has transformed how nations, firms, communities and workers compete in the international economy over the past half century. This course will trade the emergence of the GVC framework, which is arguably the most influential approach used to analyze globalization and its consequences for both developing and developed economies.  We will focus on the conceptual foundations of GVC analysis, the twin pillars of “governance” and “upgrading”, and we will review detailed GVC case studies related to Asia, Latin America and Africa, including original studies that have been carried out at the Duke Global Value Chains Center (Duke GVCC), one of the most renowned university-based GVC research centers in the world.  Since the early 2000s and especially after the 2008-09 financial crisis, virtually all of the main international development organizations, including the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Labor Organization, OECD, the U.S. Agency for International Development, UNIDO, UNCTAD, and the World Economic Forum, have used the GVC approach to guide their development agendas. We will evaluate the GVC research they have carried out, and analyze the most fruitful guidelines for development that emerge from this literature.

This one-credit mandatory seminar is intended to facilitate efficient preparation of the master’s project.  It focuses on preliminary preparation up to prospectus defense.  The seminar reviews lessons from past experience, selection of topic, and development of a research plan as well as the key elements of the policy analysis methodology.  Grading is based on participation and the quality of the final prospectus.

This course focuses on social development and the role of social policy as an important channel that policy makers at different levels use to address complex and interrelated issues affecting human well-being.  We analyze status, trends, problems and opportunities in social development in the world and in selected countries. The course is designed as a basic graduate level course for students interested in international development, particularly policy making for social development. 

This one-credit seminar is the second of two parts designed to prepare Rotary Peace Fellows towards their future leadership roles in the field of Peace and Conflict Prevention and Resolution. This seminar will constitute the “wrapping up” by fellows as they prepare to embark on important professional endeavors. The seminar comprises two elements: (i) an exploration by the fellows of their future leadership potential in the field of P&CR through simulation exercises and preparation of an individual leadership paper; and (ii) preparation and delivery of the fellows’ public presentation at the Rotary Conference in early April.

MIDP Mini-Seminars: Spring

Reviews of many development programs cite committed and competent leadership as a key factor in project, program, and country success. Central questions revolve around the relative importance of leadership in successful development initiatives and the leadership characteristics that leave behind a sustainable legacy, i.e., a lasting foundation for others to build upon. Looking at these questions, this mini-course will (a) review several key concepts of leadership from political science, sociology, and management perspectives; (b) attempt to develop a framework for evaluating effective leadership in the development context; and (c) utilize the framework to examine the profiles and actions of several recent development leaders. The course is primarily a group discussion, with a class presentation and a final paper focusing on the profile and analysis of an actual leader

Managing organizations to achieve impact is challenging in any context, but it is particularly difficult in developing countries that are often high-risk environments. High volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity can negatively affect development investments and the people who make them. This mini-course introduces students to key elements for managing organizations in such contexts, starting with good leadership. It provides tools for understanding the local context where development practitioners work, including assessing different kinds of risk and how to manage them. It introduces approaches for setting direction and making adjustments in such contexts, including strategic planning and adaptive management. The course emphasizes the need for building resourceful and resilient teams capable of effectively performing in such contexts, and it introduces students to the special challenges of operating in environments overtaken by crisis. Student requirements include participation in class discussion and group exercises, and a short paper.

This mini-seminar will provide students with a variety of tools necessary to most effectively engage in interpersonal conflicts by focusing on both internal and external factors and influences. During the 5-week seminar, students will engage with active listening, apology and forgiveness, cross-cultural communication, and multi-party negotiations. The mini-seminar aims to redefine the meanings of “winning” and “power,” and to provide students with tools necessary to cope with stress, discomfort, and emotions when in conflict. It includes both theory and experiential learning through role-plays and is meant for students who plan to work for NGOs, government agencies, international organizations, or in any field that requires skills in conflict management.

Why have people been migrating from one country to another, often despite significant risks involved?  What impacts have such migrations had on labor markets, finances and trade of sending and receiving countries? Are the monies migrants send home more development-friendly than Official Development Assistance or Foreign Direct Investment? How does migration affect innovation? How can we better analyze, and possibly manage, international migration?  If any of these questions intrigued you, this course may be for you.

MIDP Practicums : Spring 

The goal of this course is to introduce you to several key principles of good writing. We will use your own writing for your other courses as the “raw material” of the class. The key principles we will cover – through in-class exercises, lecture and homework – will include the following: 1. the role of culture in determining style; 2. writing clear sentences; 3. writing focused, connected paragraphs; 4. motivating your reader; and 5. pulling papers into a coherent whole.

To be effective, policy writing must be well-structured, clear and free from distractions. While most of our writing efforts must be focused on content, in today’s world, writers must also learn how to pay attention to form and format. In this short course, you will learn the mindset and specific skills need for a professional level of writing and editing.

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