Adrian Leftwich Memorial Conference
"The Primacy of Politics: Engaging with the Political Dynamics of Development Assistance"
24 January 2014, London
We were delighted that over 100 scholars and development practitioners joined us for the Adrian Leftwich Memorial Conference on 24 January. We commemorated DLP's founding Director of Research with a fascinating day of reflection and discussion.
We heard reflections on the politics of development from prominent speakers – including Dr Thomas Carothers, author of Development Aid Confronts Politics: The Almost Revolution – and considered Adrian’s contribution to the field. We also discussed new research findings, and debated the practical implications of thinking and working politically. See Duncan Green’s reflections on the event.
The panel on findings from new DLP research – the last projects that Adrian commissioned before his death – generated particular interest. These four presentations examined:
- Political Settlements and State Formation – the case of Somaliland (Dr Sarah Phillips, University of Sydney): Findings include the importance in Somaliland of: a domestically-funded peace process that motivated a high level of strategic co-operation among elites; a lack of pressure to accept 'template' political institutions; and quality secondary education.
- Higher Education and Developmental Leadership – the case of Ghana (Dr Susy Ndaruhutse, CfBT Education Trust): Findings include the importance of quality secondary and tertiary education in forming developmental leadership, and the role of residential education in promoting social integration and networks that support reform coalitions.
- Coalitions for Change – a hybrid action research project (Prof John T. Sidel, LSE): Research in the Philippines finds that, even in the context of strong presidential leadership, coalitions play a necessary role in achieving reforms.
- The Medellin Miracle – the politics of crisis, elites and coalitions (Dr Kate Maclean, Birkbeck, University of London): Findings include the importance in Medellin of both formal legislative landmarks and changes in the social and cultural dynamics that influence how coalitions and leaders are formed.
See also #politicsofdev on Twitter.