Leadership for development: where does political will come from?  

10 October 2018, 17:00-18:30, University of Birmingham, UK

Cover of synthesis report

Development is hampered by what can seem intractable problems, such as exclusion or weak services. Over the past 10 years, DLP research has examined how leadership, power and political processes have driven change in diverse sectors in 44 countries – from peace against the odds in Somaliland to urban transformation in Colombia.

This event unpacked findings from DLP’s 10-year synthesis report on how leadership works at three levels: individual, collective and societal. Speakers included DLP’s Directors Prof. David Hudson and Dr. Claire Mcloughlin; Greg Power, Founder of Global Partners Governance; and former DLP Director Prof. Heather Marquette.

DLP is a research collaboration based in the University of Birmingham’s International Development Department, and is supported by the Australian government.



Why political settlements matter: 5 October 2017, ODI, London

This event was held to discuss the findings and implications of research presented in a Special Issue of the Journal of International Development, co-edited by Alina Rocha Menocal (DLP and ODI) and Jan Pospisil (Political Settlements Research Programme at the University of Edinburgh). See event details


How Change Happens: Seminar by Duncan Green, 19 January 2017, Birmingham UK

What works in achieving progressive change? How do power and systems shape change, and how can you influence them? At this event Duncan Green, Strategic Adviser at Oxfam GB, discussed the themes of his new book How Change HappensSee event details

Political settlements and public service performance: 12-14 April 2016, Singapore 

This conference considered public service reform through the political settlement lens, with a focus on non-crisis countries. How can the impact of public administration for development in any particular political system be maximised? The event brought together development professionals, academics and government and civil society representatives. It was hosted by the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence in partnership with DLP and the Centre for Public Impact. Among the speakers were Verena Fritz, Mushtaq Khan, Brian Levy, DLP's Alina Rocha Menocal, and Michael Woolcock. See event details

Power, Politics and Positive Deviance: DLP Annual Conference 2016

8 February 2016, La Trobe University, Melbourne

The focus of the conference was on positive cases that show how an understanding of power and politics has been successfully incorporated into social change processes. We explored the degree to which external development agencies and influences have contributed to these processes. See the conference videos, podcasts and blog series.

Corruption and development: What do we know, what works, and why should we care?

29 June 2015, University College London, UK

This public, collaborative event considered how international development actors can tackle corruption more effectively in the contexts where they work. Drawing in particular on a recent DFID Evidence Paper and other emerging research on corruption, it brought together speakers from the fields of research, policymaking, practice and advocacy. More

Political settlements workshop, 17 June 2015, Bangkok

What are 'political settlements'? How can they help us understand processes of state formation, including evolving state-society relations, patterns of inclusion and exclusion, and prospects for political, social and economic transformation? How can a political settlements approach enable donors to engage more effectively in efforts to foster progressive change? This workshop brought together researchers, policymakers and practitioners who are working on these issues. More

DLP Annual Conference 2015: The Politics of Inequality

On 12 February, DLP held its 2015 Annual Conference on the theme of the politics of inequality, at the University of Birmingham. The conference explored questions including: How does politics create or maintain inequalities, and which inequalities, and why? Who are the actors, what are the social structures involved? How do power, norms and ideas sustain inequalities? We were delighted to welcome Professor Frances Stewart as our keynote speaker.

See the conference materials and presentations.

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

Find out more


Program Manager job vacancy - join us!

Friday 1st March 2019

DLP is looking for a Program Manager for a new three-year phase of research on how leadership can support development in Asia and the Pacific.

Read more

Tackling violence in the DRC: new papers discuss ways forward

Tuesday 18th December 2018

As the Democratic Republic of the Congo prepares for tense presidential elections, two new papers unpack some of the drivers of the prolonged conflict and insecurity in the eastern provinces.

Read more

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