MDP Summit 2012 - Dhaka, Bangladesh

The Fourth Annual Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Summit took place from Sunday, February 5, through Friday, February 10, 2012 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with the support of BRAC Development Institute.  Representatives (vice chancellors, rectors, deans, directors, and others) from all 22 MDP programs and 5 universities that are interested in developing MDP programs—al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Kazakstan; Birla Institute of Management Technology, India; Lund University, Sweden; Royal University of Bhutan, Bhutan; and Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia— were in attendance, bringing together close to 70 individuals representing 18 different countries; a truly global gathering.

A priority of this year’s meeting was to allow plenty of time, formal and informal, for network building and the establishment of cross-network collaborative projects.  This objective was easily met with programs and individuals establishing new relationships, strengthening existing ones, and exploring opportunities for joint endeavors.  Topical areas discussed throughout the week included:

  • An internal governance structure for the Global Association of Master’s in Development Practice programs;
  • Plenary discussions on MDP field training as a whole, with smaller breakout sessions focusing on individual program field experiences and possible collaboration opportunities;
  • In-depth discussions surrounding the MDP curriculum: especially the MDP core competencies, case studies, health resources, and integration of the four pillars;
  • And MDP program evaluation and accreditation.

A highlight of the week was a widely attended special presentation by Kirsten Lundberg, Director, Case Consortium @ Columbia, on using “teaching” cases in the classroom.  This was followed up with Dr. Lundberg leading a workshop on writing effective teaching cases, in anticipation of the Global MDP Association’s plan to build a repository of sustainable development-based case studies.

Each MDP Summit also includes a visit to the host university’s MDP program field site.  Such a field-site visit highlights the cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral approach to the challenges of sustainable development.  This year we visited Manikganj, Bangladesh, just outside of Dhaka, and experienced firsthand the microfinance, health care, community empowerment and primary education initiatives that BRAC Development Institute has implemented.  What is truly significant is how these field site visits make tangible the work being undertaken by the Global MDP Association. 

Overall the Fourth Annual MDP Summit offered substantial networking and collaboration opportunities, with lively discussions surrounding crucial aspects of the Global MDP Association.  Building on this year’s accomplishments, discussions have already begun to ensure another successful MDP Summit in 2013!