24th Global Development Conference: Democracy and the Future of Development


Saturday, March 24, 2018, 9:00am to 5:00pm


Harvard Kennedy School -- Location TBD


Are democracies on the decline, and if so, what does this mean for development? Until the early 2000s, common wisdom predicted that economic development would lead developing nations to embrace liberal democracy. Conversely, democracies have been seen as more conducive to social and economic inclusion and respect for human rights. However, recent experiences have challenged these notions. Is democracy an obstacle or prerequisite to economic development? How should development practitioners work around about these issues in the future? This panel will delve into the lessons learned from current cases, including Venezuela's economic and human crisis, Brazil and India’s struggle for economic growth while promoting a culture of respect for human rights, the Chinese regime’s autocratic consolidation of power domestically and as a global leader abroad.

David Smolansky was the mayor of El Hatillo Municipality in Caracas. He was removed by the Maduro´s regime, disqualified from any public administration role and has an arrest warrant. He was forced to leave Venezuela after 35 days in clandestinity where he faced 35 checkpoints until he got to Brazil. Elected as the youngest Mayor in Venezuela, his administration decreased the number of kidnappings in El Hatillo, making the municipality one of the most secure and transparent in the country. He is also a founding member and has served as the Deputy Secretary General of Voluntad Popular, one of the main opposition political party which is led led by Leopoldo López. A journalist from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, David is one of the most known young politicians in Venezuelan, and a vital member of the student movement which defeated Hugo Chávez’s constitutional reform proposal in 2007. He has a master’s degree in political science from Universidad Simón Bolívar and participated in the Global Competitiveness Leadership Program at Georgetown University. In 2015, he was recognized by Junior Chamber International as the outstanding young politician of the world. As a result of his exile, he is currently doing a visiting scholar at Georgetown University.

Fauzia Viqar is a women’s rights activist with over 17 years of experience working against gender and race-based discrimination . She has led reforms against gender and racial discrimination in Pakistan, Canada and in many international forums for changes in the law and practice. Her most recent contributions include pioneering an effective monitoring system (Gender Management Information System) for implementation of laws and services for women, a government helpline that has provided information and addressed complaints from women in over 650000 calls in 3 years, effective women's empowerment in shelters and , a sustained crusade against violence perpetrated on women. Fauzia serves on various public sector and civil society boards. During the past 5 years, she has been at the helm of landmark changes in Pakistan that have changed the landscape for women’s equality. Fauzia has established as the first Chairperson, and is heading (since 2014) the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (http://pcsw.punjab.gov.pk), a government body responsible for promoting women’s empowerment.

John Hurley is a Visiting Policy Fellow at the Center for Global Development. He is on leave from the US Treasury Department where he has worked on international finance and macroeconomic issues for over twenty-five years. Most recently he was the Director of the Office of Debt and Development Policy where he represented the U.S. government in various development settings, including the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the G20’s Development Working Group and Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion. During his Treasury career he has had a variety of assignments, including senior advisor to the U.S. Executive Director for the Inter-American Development Bank, Acting U.S. Executive Director for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Treasury’s representative in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. He was also the lead US negotiator for the Addis Ababa Action Agenda that was adopted at the 2015 Financing for Development conference. At CGD he is examining debt policy issues and trends in developing country debt sustainability, as well as contributing to the work of the Development Policy Initiative.

Conference details and registration at: https://globaldevelopmentconference.com/GDC/schedule


This event was organized by the HKS Global Development Conference Committee and co-sponsored by DRCLAS.