“It is the long history of humankind… that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin
During the past year, our lives have been radically transformed by the events that we have faced both individually and collectively. We have been compelled to revisit our sense of the routine and find ways to adapt to an increasingly complex yet interconnected world.
The talented faculty, staff and fellows at DCID have also been working to stay the course.
As we enter the second year of the pandemic, we know that these changing times warrant new, innovative measures for achieving our vision—development that promotes peace and prosperity for all people.
DCID has implemented a wide range of strategies that better position our research, education, and engagement programs for a new era in international development.
First, we have made some constructive changes to the Master of International Development Policy (MIDP) program. We have added new courses and enhanced existing ones to prepare students for cutting-edge opportunities in development. We are in the process of reframing our “areas of focus” in the curriculum into formal concentrations that build on our faculty’s expertise, involve immersive research opportunities, and prepare MIDP fellows for upcoming trends in international development. In addition, we have altered the requirements of the one-year MIDP, so that it is attractive to ambitious candidates that have significant work experience whether or not they have completed previous graduate-level training.
Second, the pandemic motivated us to experiment with new modes of digital learning. We built a lightboard studio for faculty to teach their online courses in a cutting-edge learning environment. Our team also developed our own software program and landing page for online courses, which facilitates posting of course materials and allows students to interact with each other as they learn. Once these were in place, it was easy to develop spin-off online short courses for development practitioners and DCID alumni looking to upgrade their skills. We are currently beta testing a course in Behavioral Economics for Development in partnership with Oxfam International with additional courses in Monitoring and Evaluation, Governance and Institutions, and Frontiers of Development launching later this year.
Third, we have worked to position ourselves as the cornerstone for international development work at Duke by identifying opportunities for collaboration with the university’s faculty who work in international development in different units on campus. These joint ventures have already led to several new research projects, including two on anti-corruption programs in Vietnam and international migration in Central America, which appear likely to win external funding.
These are just a few of the steps that we are taking to chart a path into a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. I strongly believe that the post-pandemic world demands the very best of DCID. My overriding goal as director is to bring the strength of our center to bear on the enormous economic, political and social challenges that COVID-19 has brought to the countries around the world.
Thank you for your continued support on this journey.
Stay safe and well.
Edmund (Eddy) Malesky, PhD
Director, Center for International Development (DCID)