Day Recap: David Abernethy, Nathaniel Whittemore

Ian Zimmermann


September 23, 2009

David Abernethy, Emeritus Professor of Political Science at Stanford, was introduced by Abby Falik as one of the single most important people in engaging her in global development. He described development in terms of different groups; personal development focuses on our capacity to handle problems while the development of human “groups” will focus more specifically on improving other capacities: be it the ability to raise money or to feed more homeless people. Further, development can be measured in different roles – social and economic. Using various per capita measurements from the World Development Report, we examined how we can start to understand development within a nation.

Professor Abernethy further discussed the limitations of these per capita figures in determining inequality in a country. Finally, he led the discussion towards the various methods of approaching poverty and inequality and the major players internationally that work towards economic development.

Nathaniel Whittemore, the Director of the Center for Global Engagement at Northwestern University, served as GCY’s afternoon facilitator. Nathaniel helped us focus on social enterprise generally, through numerous articles that discussed topics such as healthcare and the UN Millennium Development Goals. Importantly, he stressed the need for successful international development organizations to assume and recognize that communities already have valuable assets.

In response to an afternoon Twitter post, Whittemore asked us what we think our own roles will be when we arrive in Guatemala and Senegal. Our responses: Serve as an ambassador to and from the US, act as a student and a learner, serve as a cultural observer, cultivate self capacity, increase awareness, share attention and interests, and show the opportunities and potential of communities.

Ian Zimmermann