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Centre for Resilience and Sustainable Development

A transdisciplinary action-research centre in applied resilience science

About This Event

What should be the role of “Global Britain” when it comes to international development in a world that has been severely disrupted by Brexit, COVID-19 and Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine?

The former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, broke the UK’s commitment to spending 0.7 percent of national income and slashed spending in June 2020. Johnson trashed the Department for International Development (DFID), globally acknowledged as a leading force in development, and made it disappear into the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. Now, while the UK’s latest Prime Minister has appointed a new Minister for Development (Andrew Mitchell) who believes in and understands the power and necessity of international development, supporters of restoring DFID’s budgets are confronted with the reality that the UK faces deep spending cuts across government departments as a consequence of the current economic crisis. The Labour Party has suggested that it will reinstate DFID if elected.

The challenges in development are immense. Forced displacement, as well as economic migration, plays an increasingly divisive role in the politics of developed democracies, and yet according to UNHCR, 86 percent of refugees are hosted in developing countries. Climate change creates particular risks for the poorest countries least able to invest in adaptation. The West sees ever increasing competition for influence in Africa from China, which is not bound by the niceties of laws banning corrupt practices. Russia carries out its version of “development” using armed mercenaries in countries rich in rare minerals. Donald Trump’s “America First” policy saw the US retreat from the world stage, which was followed by President Biden’s ignominious withdrawal from Afghanistan. Famine again stalks the Horn of Africa.

So, what’s the point in the UK’s international development efforts? To help the poorest people? To promote the rights of women and girls? To boost UK export opportunities? To act as an instrument of foreign policy?  To protect UK interests and to project power? To be a force to promote democracy, the rule of law, human rights and media freedom, indeed freedom itself? Why should this be a priority when there are so many pressing needs at home

This interactive, online Sinews of Development series event will be staged by the Centre for Resilience and Sustainable Development (the CRSD) at the University of Cambridge.

Limited space available, please register using the: Eventrbrite Link | Zoom Link

Biography of the Guest Speakers

Mr Jeremy Bowen, Broadcast Journalist, Editor, and Reporter at BBC 

Jeremy Bowen is a world-renowned broadcast journalist, editor, and reporter with immense knowledge and experience in the Middle East. As a correspondent, Jeremy has devoutly covered wars and conflicts in over 70 countries, often coming under fire on several occasions including, being shot in the head while in Egypt in 2013. Jeremy recently returned from Ukraine where he covered in real-time, the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. Jeremy interviewed Muammar Gaddafi during the Libyan civil war in 2011, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in February 2015 in an exclusive for the BBC. He has won a host of awards for his daring brand of journalism, including an International Emmy in 2006 for coverage of the war in Lebanon and a Sony Gold Award for News Story of the Year for his coverage of the arrest of Saddam Hussain.

Preet Kaur Gill,  Labour (Co-op) MP for Birmingham, Edgbaston and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

Preet Kaur Gill is the Labour (Co-op) MP for Birmingham, Edgbaston, and has been an MP continuously since 8 June 2017. She was ‌appointed‌ ‌to the Shadow Cabinet as‌ Shadow Secretary of State for International Development in‌ April 2020 and had previously served as the junior opposition spokesperson for International Development. Born and raised in the West Midlands, Preet is the UK’s first female Sikh MP. She is the Chair of the Co-operative Party Parliamentary Group, and Vice-President of the Local Government Association. She was named MP of the Year by the Patchwork Foundation in 2020. 

Ms Suzanne Raine, Centre for Geopolitics, Cambridge University

Suzanne Raine writes and speaks on terrorism, risk analysis and warning.  She is a Visiting Professor in the Department of War Studies at KCL and works at the Centre for Geopolitics at Cambridge University.  She served for 24 years in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office on foreign policy and national security issues, including postings in Poland, Iraq and Pakistan.  She specialised in counter-terrorism, holding a number of senior domestic appointments including Head of the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre from 2015-2017.  She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Imperial War Museum, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and Stop The Traffik, an NGO working to combat Modern Slavery. 

Chair: Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell MP, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development). Senior Fellow, CRSD, Cambridge University

Andrew is the Member of Parliament for Sutton Coldfield. He was appointed Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development) in October 2022. Andrew was the Secretary of State for International Development in the British Government from May 2010 until he became Government’s Chief Whip in September 2012. He was a member of the National Security Council in Britain and a Governor of the World Bank between 2010 and 2012. He was appointed to the Privy Council in 2010. Before joining the cabinet in 2010, he held numerous junior positions in Government (1992-1997) and in opposition (2003-2010). He has been a Senior Adviser for Investec since 2013 and Ernst & Young since 2016. He served in the Army (Royal Tank Regiment) as a UN Peacekeeper before joining the International Investment Bank, Lazard where he worked on and off for 30 years. He was a Director of Lazard Asia and Lazard India as well as of Lazard London. He is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Resilience and Sustainable Development (CRSD) at the University of Cambridge; he is a Visiting Fellow at the School of International Studies of Peking University; and an Honorary Professor at the School of the Social Sciences for the University of Birmingham.

Host: Dr Nazia M Habib, FRSA, Head of the Centre for Resilience and Sustainable Development (CRSD), Cambridge University

Dr Nazia M Habib, FRSA is the Founder and Research Director for the Centre for Resilience and Sustainable Development (CRSD), at the University of Cambridge. She also holds academic positions in the Department of Engineering and the Department of Land Economy. Trained as a political economist, Nazia specialises in using systems thinking approaches with political economic theories to influence one's worldview of decision making with an emphasis on Sustainable Investment, Responsible Innovation, and Good Governance. She focuses on emerging issues within economies and has since worked with governments from over fifty-seven (57) countries. Nazia has received several awards notably, the Commonwealth Fellowship, Newton Fellowship, and Harvard Sustainability Science Fellowship. She is currently a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), a special advisor for the EAT Foundation, a Non-Executive Board member for TISATech, and a past Fellow with the World Economic Forum (WEF). 


Thursday, 17 November 2022 - 17:00 to 18:30