Below is a short summary on JCU’s participation in the 2019 RDI Conference. I am so pleased that JCU continues to build its engagement with the Australian Development Studies community. The below summary was written for the Cairns Institute Newsletter:


From June 12-13 the 2019 RDI Conference was held at (and co-hosted by) La Trobe University, Melbourne. Built around the theme ‘Leadership for Inclusive Development’, the conference welcomed over 350 delegates and 30 presenter sessions. Keynote presentations included a powerful opening Keynote by the Honourable Fiame Mata‘afa, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, as well as fascinating discussions by Srilatha Batliwala, Senior Associate, Gender at Work, and Assistant Professor Dan Honig, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.


JCU was heavily involved in this year’s conference. The University was an official sponsor; it sent 6 delegates to deliver papers; and JCU’s Dr. Kearrin Sims was a member of the conference coordinating committee.


Under the panel theme ‘Inclusive leadership in the Tropics: the JCU approach to leaving no-one behind’, Distinguished Professor Stewart Lockie and JCU PhD Candidates Nick Roberts and Simon Towle delivered 3 papers around JCU research and education partnerships in Papua New Guinea (PNG). In this Panel, Dr. Kearrin Sims also delivered a paper on the role that international service learning can play in cultivating inclusive leadership.


In a second panel on ‘Leadership, sexual violence and sexual health’ JCU’s Dr. Michelle Redman-MacLaren and PhD Candidate Rachael Tommbe discussed their work on women’s leadership (Meri Lida) training on sexual health and wellbeing in PNG.


Finally, the 2019 RDI Conference also saw the official launch of the Development Studies Association of Australia (DSAA). This marks an important step forward for the field of development studies in Australia, and JCU’s Dr. Kearrin Sims was elected as a standing Member of the DSAA Executive Committee.


The RDI Conference was an intellectually stimulating event, that brought together academics and practitioners from across Australia and New Zealand, as well as beyond. It was exciting to see JCU have such a strong presence at the event.


A full list of presenter abstracts including those of JCU presenters can be accessed here: RDI Conference 2019