There are increasing concerns that developing countries are not adequately represented at the tables and in the rooms where their problems, their future and their development are being discussed. According to an African proverb, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter until the lion can tell his own story. In the context the Black Lives Matter movement that focuses on the deep structural and historic roots of global inequities, we may be specifically worried that inequities in regional representation may introduce bias and blind spots. For instance, when it comes to development research conferences we may be worried that it could affect whether we interpret problems as political and systemic, rooted partly in the past decisions of developed countries – or avoid such blame and difficult conversations by framing these problems as narrower technical research questions and moving the focus away from power differentials by focussing on parameters that can be influenced by local communities. Conveniently a generic, but hopeful narrative about development can be crafted when we can move past deep problems of motivating public sector workers and policymakers by creating high-stakes short-term employment opportunities for eager and highly motivated American PhD and Masters students to ensure that research studies and interventions are well-run, within countries and social environments that are not.
Project leader: Ronelle Burger
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