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OU to host 2019 Development Studies Association conference

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The OU has just been invited to host the Development Studies Association (DSA) annual conference in June 2019 on the theme of “Opening up Development”.

The conference will take place at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, during the year when the OU will celebrate its 50th birthday. It will address what “opening up development” means and this will be reflected in the content and structure of the conference which will address topics such as:


  • With growing protectionism and isolation of some key Western powers set against China’s move to integrate the world through trade, the conference will discuss openness in the context of a more just world order;
  • With the challenge of the refugee crisis, there will be a debate around the closing of borders set against the need to be open to people, cultural difference, and ideas;
  • With austerity in Europe and debates around the efficacy of aid at the same time as multiple conflicts around the world, there will be debates about how to open up public discourse around questions of international development.

In a ground-breaking new format for the DSA Conference, DSA 2019 will see Bond – the UK’s leading development NGO network– collaborating on the organization and support for the conference with the OU. The OU has extensive collaborations with other practitioner networks, including Devex, as well as global academic networks such as Academics Stand Against Poverty. These specific OU partnerships will ensure that this 2019 DSA conference will be a first for the DSA, helping to cement links between such world-leading networks of academics and practitioners.

Professor Helen Yanacopulos, Head of Development Policy and Practice at the OU said: “The Open University has always had a practical focus of enabling social change and this is reflected in its contribution to the field of development policy and practice. Today, it still stands for ‘openness’ in terms of people, places, methods and ideas; and it is this theme, with a key focus on bridging the divide between academia and practitioners that will frame the conference.”

Find out more about DSA 2019

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