News Release: Admission and Financial Aid, International, Sustainability

Jun. 30,  2009

Emory Receives Support to Launch Degree Program in Sustainable Development

U.S.-based MacArthur Foundation awards nearly $8 million to address challenges of global sustainable development

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Emory University has been selected by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, globally headquartered in Chicago, as one of 10 universities worldwide to receive significant support in the amount of $900,000 to create a new master’s degree program in development practice.

The MacArthur Foundation has awarded $7.6 million to seed the creation of master’s of development practice (MDP) degree programs that will provide rigorous post-graduate training for a new generation of development experts over the next three years.

“It’s a privilege to receive this grant and to continue to expand Emory’s engagement with sustainable development around the world,” said Lisa A. Tedesco, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School. “This program will build on Emory’s abiding commitment to scholarship and teaching that contributes to the public good, and to collaboration with partners outside the academic world. We are proud to help train a new generation of development professionals who will address some of the greatest problems facing the world.”

"This is a very exciting moment for Emory," said David Nugent, director of Emory's MDP program. "We are deeply honored to have been selected by the MacArthur Foundation to help train the innovative development practitioners who will define the future of sustainable development practice."

The MDP programs are designed to provide graduate students with training beyond the typical focus on classroom study of economics and management found in most development studies. The program’s core curriculum bridges the natural sciences, health sciences, social sciences and management. It combines classroom study with field experiences in a range of disciplines, including agriculture, policy, health, engineering, management, environmental science, education and nutrition.

“Through our work around the globe, we at MacArthur understand that poverty, population, health, conservation, and human rights are all interconnected, requiring sustained and comprehensive interventions,” said Foundation President Jonathan Fanton. “These new programs are a model for training the next generation of these critically needed professionals."

Through financial and other support, Emory's program will emphasize the health and governance-related aspects of sustainable development through its work with partners that include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CARE and The Carter Center.

Other universities that will receive funding to establish MDP programs are: Columbia University (New York, N.Y.), The Energy Resources Institute University (New Delhi, India), James Cook University (Cairns and Townsville, Australia), Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland), Tsinghua University (Beijing, China), University of Cheikh Anta Diop (Dakar, Senegal), University of Botswana (Gaborone, Botswana), University of Florida (Gainesville, Fla.), and the University of Ibadan (Ibadan, Nigeria).

Columbia will serve as secretariat in helping to manage the MDP network of universities, and will develop an open-source repository for the MDP curriculum and other teaching materials. Ultimately, materials will be shared with other universities as part of an open-source resource on sustainable development for students worldwide, including an online global classroom.

The universities are expected to produce 250 graduates with a master’s degree in development practice by 2012, with a total of 750 students enrolled. Universities were selected based on numerous criteria, including support from top university leadership, excellent infrastructure and academic programs, the ability to serve as a regional hub, geographic representation among students, exceptional faculty, and a timeline and business plan for financial sustainability when funding ends in three years.

There was widespread global interest in establishing the programs, and the quality and diversity of the proposals indicate strong interest in expanding inter-disciplinary development studies around the world. More than 70 universities in North America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and Latin America submitted proposals.

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