I have just returned from Beijing, where we were discussing, primarily, issues of Climate Change. The irony is obvious of course and I struggled with the decision to go. But go I did - and for three separate reasons:
Firstly, this could be the start of an intercontinental initiative - UK/European, USA and Chinese - around the issue of Climate Change. The West needs to make more efforts to link with China – as no discussion around any development issues can be effective without China’s involvement. Many say that The Dragon has woken up - it hasn't - it is in the process of waking up. In fact, it's only really opened one eye. When it goes for its full morning stretch in a few years' time, we need to have established a much better understanding and rapport, forged links and developed working relationships that will work for poorer people. But more about that in another forthcoming post.....
Secondly, our Chinese hosts are physical scientists and had invited us over, as social scientists, to discuss ways of combining their physical work with insight into social dynamics that can either mitigate or adapt to climate change in the run up to 2015 and beyond. Such an opportunity for an organisation such as the DSA that works to break down silos, was too good an opportunity to miss.
Thirdly, meeting people face to face – especially across cultures - is still the best way to communicate initially, build networks and forge long term , trustful relationships so important when making decisions that can affect so many lives.
On this third point – the DSA firmly believes in the power of convening people in person and it is with this in mind that I am delighted to announce the Call for Panel Concepts for this year’s Annual Conference, where we will be reflecting on Values, Ethics and Morality. We look forward to receiving your panel concepts and varied interpretations of the Call. Visit www.devstud.org.uk/events/conference/ for more details.
By Frances Hill, Executive Director, DSA