Oxford Forum for International Development Conference

3 March 2020

On the 8th and 9th February, a group of six MSc in International Development Practice students ventured to Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government to attend the Oxford Forum for International Development Conference. This year’s conference theme was ‘Beyond Pledges - Delivering Change in an Inclusive World’.

This conference was an enlightening experience for all of us who attended, we discussed a varied range of topics in the development sector from ‘Ensuring Universal Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights’ to ‘Refugee Rehabilitation in the United Kingdom’. We heard from some very inspirational speakers including but not limited to the Chief Economist of UK DfID Rachel Glennerster, the CEO of BRAC International Mohammad Musa to Romilly Greenhill who is the UK Director of the One Campaign.

This conference allowed us to learn more about the development sector at work from hearing from multiple leaders of non-governmental organisations to those working in development policy work in government settings.

There was one thing that we learned at this conference that Rachel Glennerster said that resonated with all of us was ‘if you’re not failing, you’re not taking enough risks.’ Simply put, she meant that in development, you must learn from your mistakes. With development, failures are inevitable and if you aren’t failing, you aren’t learning thus you’re playing it too safe. She spoke of the importance of taking risks and that these will pay off in the future so not to be afraid of failure because success is on the horizon.

We all really enjoyed our time at this conference and are very grateful to Graduate School for funding the cost for the conference ticket for us.

By Ruth Harpur and Arpitha Paramesh

Left to right: Johanna Hogstedt, Tasnia Prova, Ruth Harpur, Penelope Jacobs, Arpitha Paramesh, and Julia Suter