Clark Launches Year-Long Initiative on UN’s Millennium and Sustainable Development Goals

Clark University’s International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE) program is embarking on a year-long initiative assessing the effectiveness of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) adopted by the United Nations in 2000. The initiative will include opportunities for engagement among the university, the community at large, and noted scholars focused on specific aspects of the MDGs.

In September 2000, representatives from around the world gathered at the UN to identify a global agenda tackling persistent problems facing the world community. What emerged were eight key target initiatives:


The new IDCE initiative is focused on assessing the achievements of these target goals as well as creating a space to discuss the development of new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Dr. Dave Bell, Dr. Nigel Brissett, Dr. Tim Downs, and Dr. Barbara Thomas-Slayter form the planning team that is spearheading IDCE’s engagement with the MDG/SDGs. For the spring 2015 semester Dr. Brissett is offering a class titled “MDGs and Post-2015 Development Agendas” which serves as a summation of the progress reached by the MDGs thus far as well as an introduction to the SDGs that will grow out of the lessons learned over the last 15 years.

“The emerging SDGs, even more so than the MDGs, will be consequential for the lives of peoples across the world,” Brissett said on behalf of the planning team.

He further explained:

As a department that prepares scholar-practitioners to work in domestic and international contexts, it is imperative that we critically engage with these development benchmarks. However, engagement does not necessarily mean that we either endorse or reject them, but rather that we deliberately inquire into their forms, function, and potential. This is why IDCE is using the MDG/SDG series to create intellectual spaces and opportunities for reflection and dialogue.

There will be numerous events over the next year associated with the MDG/SDG initiative including a Community Dialogues series, guest speakers, course offerings and research opportunities, and internship opportunities with international development agencies. The culminating event will be a Global Conference in spring 2016 that will bring together leading academic, research, policy, and practicing institutions to discuss the way forward in the post-2015 world.

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