This course is one of the interdepartmental courses of the “VU Amsterdam Honours programme”, offered yearly (2nd semester) to students of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam), Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) and Amsterdam University College (UAC). The course provides deep insights into the complexity of international development from various perspectives, addressing important contemporary issues such as conflict mitigation and resolution, migration, poverty reduction, food security, climate change and other environmental changes, in both rural and urban regions. The topics are in concordant with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (2016-2030) and relate well to the mission of VU Amsterdam to address debates at the interface of worldview, society and science. Africa is key in several sessions of this course since the geographical focus in current projects includes countries such as DR Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda. Moreover, Desmond Tutu chairs of the VU Amsterdam programme on ‘Bridging Diversities for Academic Advancement’ are invited as guest lecturers.
The course combines sector-specific lectures (agriculture, trade, economy) with lectures about global development issues (e.g., development politics, etc.). Next to these, students work in groups and prepare and present a case study, participate in a debate, and work on individual assignments including article reviews or so-called “QAQC’s” (Quote, Argument, Question, and Connection) and an essay showing insights into international development from multiple perspectives.