Featured image for “Mia Mottley on Slavery, Poverty, George Floyd, Climate and the Future of the World”

Mia Mottley on Slavery, Poverty, George Floyd, Climate and the Future of the World

December 14, 2023
I was lucky enough to attend the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley’s extraordinary speech at LSE last week (Video here or audio file here). Props to outgoing Oxfam CEO Danny Sriskandarajah and whoever else from Oxfam was involved in pulling it together, along with the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute, who hosted. It was jaw-dropping for both the performance, interweaving
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Featured image for “UN Women makes Norm Change central to its mission”

UN Women makes Norm Change central to its mission

November 28, 2023
Bafflingly, I was recently invited to an online ‘Expert Group Meeting’ to help UN Women flesh out a really important new strategy – making norm change central to its role. This from the Concept Note for the session: ‘In recognition of the emerging emphasis on an articulated approach to social norms in international development and acknowledging that discriminatory social norms
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Featured image for “What can we learn from looking at the overlaps between innovations in ways of doing research and neglected development issues?”

What can we learn from looking at the overlaps between innovations in ways of doing research and neglected development issues?

November 23, 2023
The same subjects have been coming up again and again in random conversations recently, especially the ones where someone comes down to South London for a general chat in a local coffee shop (one of my favourite ways of avoiding work). In a recent discussion with Oxfam Mexico’s Estefanie Hechenberger, a small penny dropped – the value of looking at
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Featured image for “What do 70 Masters students from around the world want to campaign on?”

What do 70 Masters students from around the world want to campaign on?

November 17, 2023
I’ve just spent a busy few days giving feedback on students’ proposals for their assignments in my activism class at the LSE, which I teach along with Tom Kirk. For this they have to pick a topic that they feel strongly about, and design an influencing strategy to achieve a positive change. They have to work through the course content
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Featured image for “Pracademics: just a clunky new word, or something more significant/substantial?”

Pracademics: just a clunky new word, or something more significant/substantial?

November 9, 2023
Pracademics. Horrible word, interesting concept: people who straddle, however uncomfortably, the worlds of practice and academia. This week, I spent an hour talking through pracademia with fellow pracs Tom Kirk (LSE) and Willem Elbers (Radboud University), who’s editing a Development in Practice double issue on the topic as part of a new initiative to promote pracademia (they were inundated with
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Featured image for “RIP Saleemul Huq, a true climate hero”

RIP Saleemul Huq, a true climate hero

October 30, 2023
Over the weekend, the horrible news came through of the death at 71 of Saleemul Huq, a scientist and activist who attended every single global negotiation on climate change since 1992. Saleem was a lovely man, a remorseless but invariably polite campaigner for climate action, both as Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh
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Featured image for “Think tanks are struggling. They need to change.”

Think tanks are struggling. They need to change.

October 25, 2023
Guest post by Enrique Mendizabal of On Think Tanks Just 15% of respondents say it’s getting easier to operate as a think tank, according to the 2023 Think tank state of the sector report. And over 50% of respondents in Latin America & the Caribbean, the USA & Canada, and Africa say it is getting harder to operate. I think
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Featured image for “What Tactics are most Effective in Non-Violent Protest?”

What Tactics are most Effective in Non-Violent Protest?

October 24, 2023
Continuing on yesterday’s theme of the ups and downs of mass protest, I met (albeit via zoom) with Srjda Popovic, one of my protest heroes, last week. Srdja’s a Serbian political activist who cut his activist teeth as a leader of the student movement Otpor that helped topple Serbian president Slobodan Milošević. He established the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) in 2003 and
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Why did the Street Movements of the 2010s fail?

October 23, 2023
Been reading some interesting (and challenging) reflections on protest movements recently, so the next two days will cover what I’ve learned. First up a Guardian ‘long read’ from Vincent Bevins, a journo, on ‘Why did the Street Movements of the 2010s fail’. The piece is based on his new book,  If We Burn: The Mass Protest Decade and the Missing
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Featured image for “What would make an Atheist spend a day discussing Faith and Development?”

What would make an Atheist spend a day discussing Faith and Development?

October 19, 2023
Had a good chat last week about one of my enduring hobby-horses: the role of faith in development, and the aid sector’s massive secular blind spot. The conversation was with Christian Aid’s Lila Caballero Sosa, who (with Islamic Relief, the Joint Learning Initiative and the University of Leeds) is putting together a big event on faith and development for next
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Featured image for “How do we talk about Older People in Development and Activism?”

How do we talk about Older People in Development and Activism?

October 12, 2023
Had a nice chat with Cherian Mathews, the incoming head of HelpAge International, this week, which got me thinking about how we talk about the role of older people in development. Our conversation on possible future directions for HAI mainly centred on narratives and tactics. Narratives Obviously no one wants to go with ‘older people as victims’, which manages to
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Featured image for “Do our LSE Activism Students know it all already?”

Do our LSE Activism Students know it all already?

October 5, 2023
To get the brain juices of our record number of new LSE activism students flowing last week, we came up with an ‘ice breaker’, albeit on a very serious topic. Although LSE has a pretty comprehensive policy on sexual harassment and sexual violence, it does not currently publish the stats on reporting or resolution of cases. How could a campaign
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