York’s new International Secretariat looks at poverty reduction

(Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, left)

The following account, about the establishment of the International Secretariat for Human Development and Democratic Governance, was sent by York International.

York University is proud to announce the establishment of the International Secretariat for Human Development and Democratic Governance (hereafter referred to as the secretariat). The secretariat’s mandate is to bring together research from around the world on human development and poverty reduction and to address the existing gaps in education and training in these areas.

The secretariat is part of a global initiative, Universitas, which is currently managed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Emerging in response to the World Summit on Social Development and other similar conferences in the 1990s, Universitas promotes innovation and education for realizing human development.

Since the spring of 2000, a group of York faculty members has led the Canadian activities of Universitas. York’s role in this initiative was formalized in fall 2002 with the establishment of the secretariat. Its mandate closely reflects the current Canadian imperative of internationalization as well as the new directions in development thinking that emphasize participatory methods. Its objective is to go beyond a single regional focus and to develop research capacity on issues that cut across regions.

“York’s primary role is to facilitate the formation of a global network of scholars and practitioners of human development from various parts of the world”, says Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, director of the secretariat and professor in the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Arts.

“What we expect to see emerge from this is the consolidation of a global research consortium for human development. More broadly, our hope is to stimulate the production of new forms of knowledge for human development where disciplinary barriers are dissolved, the divide between scholar and practitioner is overcome, and academic benefits of research are accompanied by concrete social benefits,” said Mukherjee-Reed.

Several York research centres and programs are associated with the secretariat, including the International Development Studies Program, Centre for Research in Work and Society, Business and Society Program and Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean.

For more information please contact Ananya Mukherjee-Reed at ananya@yorku.ca or visit the Secretariat’s Web site at www.yorku.ca/hddg.