The difficult path to meaningful & decolonized PhDs in Development Studies

The other day a young, bright contact in my network announced that they had accepted a PhD position on a full scholarship at a great development studies institution in Europe. And then I read a post in a large, well-known aid Facebook group where a member announced that they are planning to return to academia, but are looking for a way not to do ‘research for research’s sake’ and instead influence humanitarian policy or practice in the OECD country of their studies. Both of these anecdotes as well as recent discussions with contacts about the pros and cons of embarking on a PhD journey reminded me on how difficult it is to pull off the unicorn PhD that gets you a fancy degree, influences policy and achieves all of this in a participatory way that keeps you and your informants safe, healthy and happy. Is a PhD the most colonial academic undertaking today? This is of course a provocative and very generalizing question, but unlike other degrees, subjects or study experiences I have come

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Hi all, I will keep it short this week: It's Friday & I survived another week reasonably well ;)! As we are about to celebrate Women's Day on Monday, I want to highlight some of the posts that feature powerful women in the US, Zambia, Uganda & India making a difference as candidates for UN leadership, rideshare drivers or mental health counselors; important research on mental health & gender-based violence in humanitarian responses & great reporting from female journalists from West Africa to Canada round off this week's edition! Enjoy! My quotes of the week The deaths represent a huge loss of culture for indigenous communities, in which much traditional knowledge is passed down from generation to generation in conversations, indigenous representatives said. "Our elders are guardians of traditions, custodians of wisdom, advisors and holders of unique spiritual knowledge," (...) "To see them go is, in a way, to witness another aspect of the d

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Hi all,  This week I virtually attended a doctoral school hosted by Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi, Pakistan and the inspiring discussions and great research proposals of my health communication colleagues were such an uplifting experience! It was a powerful reminder how privileged and fortunate I am to be part of global academia which is working hard at the moment to continue her work for positive social change! But the #globaldev world never stands still, so here's your weekend & beyond list of news, great reporting on development, digital + more, new publications & poetic reflections that have caught my eyes! My quotes of the week In real life, contrary to the Hollywood tale, kids are more likely to achieve the American dream in Denmark than in America. America is not a beacon to the world on how to run an economy. Scandinavia has a much more impressive economic record than the US and is much more innovative. Sorry, my American friends — we’re not just fair

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Hi all,  My highlight of this week was definitely an opportunity to deliver a short keynote and participate as a judge in the annual challenge of Engineers Without Borders Germany where the shortlisted submissions from 1200 engineering students from 9 universities were presented; I was really impressed how reflexive, participatory & thoughtful the finalists had engaged with the challenges that community forest management in Nepal poses and how they embraced a lot of good #globaldev thinking rather than presenting simple technological 'fixes'! Now it's time for your weekly #globaldev readings-everything from Third World history, to celebrity fails & great insights from Bangladesh to DRC, South Africa, Nigeria & Kenya, extractive tourism, the IFC & new publications! Enjoy! My quotes of the week They've been photographing me and using me since the time I was a baby in a refugee camp. I remember getting those headshots taken and it made me feel, it's ver

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Hi all, I usually don't start my review with a warning, but this week's edition contains a lot of important readings on sexual violence & the aid industry; this is also why my quotes of the week feature powerful women who can inspire us & remind us of the positive change we want to see! My quotes of the week “I think something we have to realize is half of the world population is under 30 right now,” she said. “So you would want a leader who knows what it’s like to be in that age group to be suffering, not having the economic freedom to do everything you want, not having the ability to get the opportunities that you deserve. If you want to see different results, you have to do things differently.” (A Millennial UN Staffer Who Is Daring to Run Against Secretary-General Ant√≥nio Guterres ) My vision is that social movements led by women, peasant, and Indigenous and Afro Descendant communities in Latin America continue advancing the struggle against climate change, the str