The World in 2030
The Guelph Institute of Development Studies presents a new event series to rethink the future. Global experts in sustainability, food security, gender, health, democracy and human rights will discuss the forces that are driving the prospects of sustainable human development in the 21st century.
2019 Hopper Lecture in International Development
On September 20, 2019, The University of Guelph was honoured to welcome writer and historian Ramachandra Guha. Dr. Guha is the winner of the Fukuoka Prize for contributions to Asian studies. He is also the author of Times of London Book of the Decade, India After Gandhi.
Mahatma Gandhi is known for having led the Indian struggle for freedom and for inventing the techniques of non-violent civil disobedience. It is less well known that he was also a precocious environmentalist. This lecture explores Gandhi’s environmental thought and its resonances in the world today.
"Our world is becoming more dangerous, less predictable, more chaotic"
Our World is at a Crossroads
The international community is pursuing an unprecedented agenda for tackling food insecurity, preventing human rights violations, protecting biodiversity, managing humanitarian crises and mitigating global climate change.
At the same time, nationalist politicians and governments are turning inwards, rejecting global agreements and international cooperation in favour of right-wing populism, hate speech and xenophobia.
Right-wing victories in Europe, the United States and most recently, in Brazil, suggest that politicians and political movements are making electoral gains by engaging in discriminatory rhetoric that actively targets immigrants and ethnic minorities.
How do we explain these trends? Are we witnessing the beginning of a right-wing backlash? To what extent is the international community able to accommodate and respond to new flows of economic migrants and political refugees? What are the prospects for democracy?
There is now a growing awareness and acceptance of gender, difference and sexual identity. However, patriarchal practices like dowry and sex-selective abortions remain widespread.
Similarly, and in spite of the victories that have been made in the name of LGBTQ rights, sexual minorities face widespread discrimination and persecution, often at the hands of right-wing movements.
Where are these trends taking us? Are legal and constitutional guarantees sufficient for protecting the rights of sexual minorities?
Cities generate vast wealth and employment, but they are also major sites of pollution, displacement, insecurity and inequality. According to the United Nations, approximately 70 per cent of the world’s population will be living in cities by the year 2050.
How will the world accommodate and adapt to such a rapidly expanding urban population? What are the most pressing urban challenges?
How are local, national and international institutions responding to these challenges? What are the implications for food systems, food security and rural livelihoods?
Increasing attention is being paid to the challenge of tackling and reducing climate change vulnerability by building resilience or “building back better,” challenging destructive development pathways and envisioning alternative policy scenarios.
However, climate disasters like devastating windstorms and flash floods often leave psychological and emotional scars that are rarely if ever addressed by humanitarian assistance and relief agencies.
What are the known drivers and factors connecting climate change and health? To what extent are humanitarian and environmental actors incorporating health into existing policy?
International efforts to incorporate Indigenous peoples into “mainstream” policies and discourses have taken the form of highly aspirational normative frameworks, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
However, concerns have been raised that the inclusion of Indigenous concepts and peoples only reinforces ethnic stereotypes, racialized differences and an unequal ecology of knowledges.
Moreover, Indigenous self-determination frequently stands in direct contradiction to the colonial institutionalization of land, property, language, education and justice that underlies the modern nation-state.
To what extent are nation-states able to acknowledge and accommodate such fundamental contradictions? What effect has UNDRIP had on local forms of Indigenous self-determination?
How do Indigenous leaders and communities around the world understand and act upon the mobilization of Indigenous communities in Canada, Bolivia and other national contexts? What does the future of Indigenous self-determination movements hold for Indigenous communities?