Colloquium to Discuss Foreign Aid Controversy

The Global Issues Colloquium will feature Geoffrey Bergen, consultant for the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development, presenting “International Development: Is There Hope?” at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 in Magruder Hall 2001.

The merits of international development assistance have been debated over the years. Advocates for ongoing and increased aid flows to developing countries, such as Jeffrey Sachs, argue that these are necessary to boost those countries and their poorest citizens out of the “poverty trap.” Opponents of aid argue that development assistance undermines their self-reliance.

From the perspective of his long experience in international development agencies, Bergen will discuss ever-changing theories and the complex realities of international development in actual practice. His discussion will focus on both the successes and failures he has witnessed in countries where he has worked, stressing the ways in which politics on both the giving and receiving end of aid, and institutional characteristics of aid organizations like the World Bank, influence development outcomes. He will also reflect on the joys and sorrows of a career in international development and offer guidance for students considering the career path.

The Global Issues Colloquium was first developed more than a dozen years ago as an informal attempt to broaden conversations about current issues affecting the world. More recently, it has found a niche within the structure of the International Studies Program. Charged with “sustaining and enhancing an atmosphere in which global thinking becomes habitual,” the colloquiums aim to help the broader community understand the “strengths, beauties and core humanity of other cultures.” The series is presented for educational or civic purposes and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Truman State University. For more information, visit or contact Marc Becker.

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