March 8-9 2013
The 2013 Harvard African Development Conference, Visible Change in Africa: One Innovation at a Time, will take place from March 8-9th at Harvard University as part of the university-wide Africa Week.This year’s conference is a collaborative effort among the following Harvard student organizations:
- Kennedy School of Government
- Harvard School of Public Health
- African Students at School of Design
- Harvard Graduate School of Design
- Harvard African Law Association
- Harvard Law School
- Harvard African Students Association
- Harvard College
- Harvard Graduate School of Education
The Conference will convene scholars, economists, and prominent international figures to discuss pressing issues in African development. The Conference will be open to all interested persons.
II. Why Africa?
The participating organizations believe a conference focused only on African development is necessary because the continent is studied less often than other regions that also have a significant number of developing nations. Despite efforts by universities like Harvard to provide students with opportunities to learn about Africa, African Studies remains a growing field with a small presence in institutions of higher education. This absence is noteworthy because Africa is the second largest continent in the world, both in terms of land mass and population.
The organizing committee would like to help address this problem by making Harvard a center for critical thinking on African development. In line with Harvard’s tradition of academic leadership, we hope to provide a forum for discussion of innovative approaches to the development needs of this understudied continent.
III. Why Development?
This Conference will focus on development because poverty alleviation remains the primary concern for Africa. African nations have made significant economic progress, but poverty continues to plague the lives of far too many Africans. Half of Sub-Saharan Africa survives on less than $1 a day, 33% of the population suffers from malnutrition, and the average life expectancy is 41 years. Thus, despite Africa’s economic growth and the international attention it has received from a more poverty-conscious global community, development remains one of the continent’s greatest challenges.
By bringing together experts from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds, the Conference will give participants and guests the opportunity to share ideas on how best to be successful in the fight against poverty in Africa.
IV. Objectives of the Conference
1) To facilitate discussion and information sharing on important issues of African development.
2) To raise awareness about the intersecting roles of business, education, health, law, and public policy in Africa’s development.
3) To develop actionable outcomes and work product to assist development efforts.
4) To create interdisciplinary networks of experts to further African development.
V. Conference Activities
The Conference will feature two keynote speeches delivered by prominent members of the development community.
The Conference will feature a variety of panel discussions aimed at confronting development challenges through interdisciplinary solutions, including business, education, law, medicine, public health, and public policy.
There will be a banquet where a keynote address will take place. The banquet will be open to all conference attendees as well as Harvard University alumni.
There will be working sessions between local high school students and Harvard students. These sessions are designed to promote intercultural awareness and initiate dialogue between Boston area students and Harvard’s African students.