New EADI President Henning Melber

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Copyright: Dag Hammarskjoeld Foundation

Copyright: Dag Hammarskjoeld Foundation

23 Aug 2017

“Thinking ahead of the curve is needed to find ways out of the cul-de-sac or tunnel visions misunderstood as development.”

The EADI General Assembly elected Henning Melber as the new President of the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) on 22 August 2017 in Bergen/Norway. In his acceptance speech, he outlined his vision for the Association.

According to Melber, EADI “should be intellectually as well as politically inspiring for those promoting a fairer world. As part of such aspirations, strategic partnerships with institutions and advocacy groups in the world should be further pursued to contribute towards a global social contract truly ‘development’ oriented in terms of justice, social rights and a decent living in dignity without fear.”

He expressed concerns over the shrinking space of civil society in many countries and pointed to “a measurable correlation between civic space, social justice and (in)equality: open societies are more equal, also in socio-economic terms. This is a reminder”, he concluded, “that ‘development’ is not a neutral process, but utmost political.”

The Anthropocene, Melber pointed out, “happens through us. It reminds us that we cannot transcend our limitations or our reliance on the environment, be it animals, plants or minerals, and not least air and water. (…) EADI, through its institutional and individual members hopefully will be able to play a role in seeking viable, truly sustainable alternatives, not least by encouraging robust individual scrutiny among scholars not only in Europe, to explore, investigate and question our socialization, mindset, values and practices.”

Henning Melber is Director emeritus of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and a former Research Director of the Nordic Africa Institute. He remains affiliated to both institutions in Uppsala/Sweden in a senior advisory role. He was the Swedish member of the EADI ExCo for 12 years and a Vice President between 2002 and 2005. He is Extraordinary Professor at the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria and the Centre for Africa Studies at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Commonwealth Studies/Centre for Advanced Study of the University of London.

In his speech, Henning Melber thanked Isa Baud, President of EADI from 2011 to 2017 for her dedicated leadership.

The full text of his speech is available upon request.

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