Supporting rigorous professional training for future leaders in the field of sustainable development, MacArthur announced grants totaling $7.6 million to nine universities in seven countries to establish new Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) programs.
The Foundation has committed $15 million to seed the creation of such programs at up to 15 universities worldwide over the next three years. With MacArthur support, Columbia University is creating the first MDP Program, which will launch this fall.
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 combines classroom study in a range of disciplines, including agriculture, policy, health, engineering, management, environmental science, education, and nutrition with field training experiences.
“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.”
A Global Master’s in Development Practice Secretariat, supported by MacArthur and based at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, will help manage the MDP network of universities, develop an open-source repository for the MDP curriculum and other teaching materials, and will offer an online, Global Classroom on sustainable development for students worldwide.
The universities that will receive funding to establish the nine MDP programs are:
The universities are expected to produce 250 graduates with a Master’s in Development Practice degree by 2012, with a total of 750 students enrolled. They were selected based on five criteria, including support from top university leadership, excellent infrastructure and academic programs, and the ability to serve as regional hub; geographic representation among students and exceptional faculty across the four core competencies of the natural, health, and social sciences and management; and a timeline and business plan for financial sustainability when funding ends in three years. In 2010, MacArthur will fund up to five additional universities to create additional MDP programs.
The creation of the Master’s in Development Practice Program was a key recommendation of the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice, whose report (PDF) was released in October 2008. Established in 2007, the year-long Commission was co-chaired by John McArthur, Chief Executive Officer of Millennium Promise, and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and comprised of 20 top thinkers in the field of sustainable development from around the world.
View Op-Ed by Commission co-chairs calling for a new generation of development leaders