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International human development practitioners gather at first HDCA conference in Africa
2017-09-18

Description: HDCA read more Tags: Human Development and Capability Association, University of Cape Town, HDCA conference, Prof Melanie Walker 

The first HDCA annual conference on African soil was held at
UCT from 6 to 8 September 2017.


The Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA) is a global community of academics and practitioners that seeks to build an intellectual community around the ideas of human development and the capability approach, and to relate these ideas to the policy arena and justice in the world. The association promotes research within many disciplines, ranging from economics to philosophy, development studies, health, education, law, government, sociology, and more. Members live in over 70 countries worldwide.

The HDCA’s conference is held annually; in 2017, the 17th international conference was held in Africa for the first time. Hosted by the Universities of Cape Town, the Free State (UFS), and the Western Cape, and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), the meeting was held in Cape Town from 6 to 8 September 2017. The conference attracted outstanding global scholars, such as Profs Ravi Kanbur (Cornell), Martha Nussbaum (Chicago), Ingrid Robeyns (Utrecht), and Jayati Ghosh (Jawaharlal Nehru University), among many others.

The conference theme was Challenging Inequalities: Human Development and Social Change, a particularly apt topic in the wake of Stats SA’s latest Poverty Report, which shows growing poverty and inequality in South Africa. Prof Melanie Walker, Director: Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development (CRHED) at the UFS, outgoing vice-president of the HDCA, and a member of the conference committee, led a group of researchers from CRHED, ten of whom were involved in presenting papers, while two former PhD students also presented their research. Overall, the quality of papers was very high, with Prof Nussbaum remarking that this was ‘the best HDCA conference’ she had attended.

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