Development Studies Conference Returns with Strong Showing

Posted May 22, 2023

The Southeast Exchange of Development Studies (SEEDS) Conference returned to Georgia Tech after a two-year hiatus to a strong showing of development scholars eager to share the latest in their research.

About 50 scholars from across the country attended the two-day event held April 27-28, 2023, at the Exhibition Hall.

“This is an interdisciplinary conference that is all about solving some very complex challenges around the world, and it nicely aligns with our focus in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts on work that bridges disciplines and seeks to improve the human condition,” said SEEDS founder Shatakshee Dhongde, associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor in the School of Economics. “It provides a unique forum for development scholars in the southern U.S. to explore issues from various perspectives, and it also dovetails with our new Master of Science in Global Development, which seemed to generate a lot of excitement with the group.”

Dhongde co-chaired this year’s event with Anjali Thomas of the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.

Presentation topics included education, policy analysis, sustainability and climate change, government, economic development, gender inequalities, and the impact of conflicts. The studies examined issues in Afghanistan, China, India, and other regions, including the United States.

Dean Joliffe, a lead economist with the World Bank, delivered the keynote address and spoke about global poverty and efforts to understand and measure it.

The event included 16 participants from Georgia Tech, including Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts faculty members Alberto Fuentes, Robert Gonzalez, Mayra Pineda-Torres, Olga Shemyakina, Dhongde, and Thomas, as well as postdoctoral researcher Erdal Asker and Ph.D. students Roshani Bulkunde, Ryan Ellis, Vikrant Kamble, and Shubhsri Rajendra.

One key aspect of the conference is its focus on junior scholars. Nearly half of the presenters at this year’s conference were early career academics, providing a much-needed platform for them to receive feedback on their research. Organizers plan to build the SEEDS conference into a premiere showcase for development studies alongside the new master's degree in Global Development, which debuts in Fall 2023.

"We're excited about the future of that program and the opportunity this conference affords us to examine solutions to pressing challenges around the world with a focus on sustainability, equity, and social justice and a mission to prepare our students to make a difference,” Thomas said.

The conference was made possible by generous support from the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, the Center for International Business Education and Research, the Ivan Allen College, the School of Economics, and the Nunn School.

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Keyi Tang of Johns Hopkins University and Iddrisu Kambala Mohadded of the University of South Carolina talk during the Southeast Exchange of Development (SEEDS) conference on April 27, 2023. The two-day conference at the Exhibition Hall at Georgia Tech marked an opportunity for scholars, especially early career academics, to discuss global development studies from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Participants in the 2023 Southeast Exchange of Development Studies (SEEDS) Conference.

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Michael Pearson
Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts