Human Welfare Conference
Green Templeton College’s annual Human Welfare Conference brings together leading graduate students, academics, and practitioners to engage with the specific challenges and opportunities of systematically improving human welfare in both academic and professional contexts. Encouraging collaboration between researchers from different backgrounds and disciplines, the conference explores new and comprehensive ways to tackle important issues relevant to human welfare.
Human Welfare Conference 2019
The Eleventh Annual Human Welfare Conference took place on 17 and 18 May 2019 at Green Templeton College, Oxford. The theme was Innovate: Balancing Interests in Resource-Constrained Settings. The conference focused on solutions being developed at various scales to improve human wellbeing in areas as diverse as poverty alleviation, education, health, and social welfare. The goal was to offer diverse, interdisciplinary perspectives on tackling the most pertinent issues facing our society today.
Human Welfare Conference 2018
Green Templeton College held its annual Human Welfare Conference on May 11 and 12, 2018. The conference was organized by a student team co-chaired by Papa Kojo Botsio, DPhil in Comparative and International Education, and Aditya Srinath, MSc in Financial Accounting.
The theme was: Evidence in Action. The purpose of this theme was to spur deep discussions on the counterpoints between what counts as evidence and whether evidence as we know it is a necessary precedent for human welfare interventions in the field. Our distinguished speakers did justice to the theme and captured its essence quite perfectly.
Esther Duflo, renowned Professor of Development Economics at MIT, co-founder of J-Pal, and Sanjaya Lall visiting professor at Green Templeton, delivered the opening keynote address. She titled her address, “Beyond Poor Economics: Evidence in Action.” She captured her diverse audience with a catalogue of case studies across disciplines, from Education to Health to Poverty, revisiting instances where further evidence or more qualitative evidence on the ground was needed to substantiate findings.
To kick off Day 2, Professor Jo Wolff, distinguished Blavatnik Chair in Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, delivered the Sir David Watson Memorial Lecture in honour of Green Templeton’s former principal for whom it was named. He paid a wonderful tribute to Sir David Watson and centred his keynote speech on the evaluation of risks in introducing technological interventions with the absence of usually justifiable evidence.
The closing keynote speech was delivered by Professor Mike English from the Nuffield Department of Population Health, Oxford. He detailed the immense efforts made by his team in Kenya to improve standards of care, shared some evidence of their successes so far, and strongly indicated their desire to continue working to bridge healthcare disparities.
One of the highlights of the conference which cannot go unmentioned were the debate on the motion “Action to improve human welfare should solely be based on widely accepted evidence.” The debaters gifted attendees with a lively argument serving brilliant counter arguments for and against the motion. One half reiterated the importance of evidence which many researchers and policy makers toil to produce as a precedent for interventions, while the other charged the audience to consider that some decisions and actions must be taken out of urgency, and our care and empathy for others, rather than a dependency on the normativity of “evidence” especially in its statistical forms.
Human Welfare Conference 2017
On 12 and 13 May 2017, Green Templeton College welcomed over 100 delegates and 25 speakers from across the world to its annual Human Welfare Conference.
The theme was: Reinventing Empowerment in the 21st Century. Over the two days of the conference, attendees saw invigorating discussion and debate about what ‘empowerment’ means today, whether the government is the best agent for it, and how to reclaim this term to benefit the many and the vulnerable alike. The speakers touched on themes from HIV/AIDS to Trump, and the audience was fortunate to hear experts with diverse backgrounds in journalism, human rights, parliament, and academia.
One of the highlights was the launch of a conference manifesto. This outlined some of the lasting messages and reflections on empowerment from the two days, to take to future discussions and action platforms. It was designed collaboratively by the committee and attendees of the conference, who posted their reflections.
The team was also incredibly proud to have a group of students come and present their research posters from six different continents. This truly was a global and inclusive discussion.
The Conference was organised by a dedicated committee of Green Templeton College students and led by Isabel Woodford, MPhil in Development, and Derek Soled, MsC in Medical Anthropology.
Human Welfare Conference 2016
The Human Welfare Conference 2016 took place on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 May 2016. The theme was: Inequalities and Human Welfare.
This conference focused on inequality. What are the impacts of different types of inequality in our global society and how can we address these issues now Inequalities manifest in many ways – as unequal distributions of income and wealth; differences based on gender, sexuality, and ethnicity; and varied levels of access to education, healthcare, the political system, the justice system, and natural resources. These issues of inequality and many more pose great economic, political, social and ethical challenges. At the conference, panels consisting of interdisciplinary representatives came together to discuss different solutions for diverse varieties of inequality.
Human Welfare Conference 2015
Taking place on Friday 1 May and Saturday 2 May 2015, the theme for this conference was: Human Welfare in Conflict.
Taking a multifaceted and multidisciplinary approach, this conference aimed to develop novel ways to alleviate the burden that conflict places on human welfare, through the protection of communities during periods of conflict, coping with the aftermath, conflict resolution and the prevention of avoidable conflicts. This extends beyond conflict of a military nature, and the conference also focused on religious, ethnic and social conflict between and within communities.
There were three keynote speakers: Professor Richard Rubenstein, George Mason University, USA; Professor David Keen, London School of Economics, and Dr Matthew Morton, World Bank Specialist in Social Protection Issues and a Green Templeton alumnus (DPhil Social Policy and Intervention 2011). Dr Morton delivered the inaugural Sir David Watson Memorial lecture.
Human Welfare Conference 2014
This conference took place on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 May. The theme was: Innovation in Development Challenging convention to advance human welfare in low- and middle-income countries.
The keynote speakers werePaul Krugman, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and Xiaolan Fu, Professor of Technology and International Development and Director, Technology and Management for Development Centre, Oxford Department of International Development.
Previous Human Welfare Conferences
2013: Well Defined? Interdisciplinary Understandings of Human Welfare.
2012: Crisis? What Crisis? Human Welfare in the Balance.
2011: Arrested Development? Youth Welfare in a Time of Scarcity.
2010: Paved with Good Intentions? The Road Ahead for Humanitarianism.
2009: Globalisation and Human Welfare: Innovations in Sustainable Solutions.
History of the Human Welfare Conference
The first Human Welfare Conference was held in May 2008, the same year of the merger of Green and Templeton Colleges. It was the brainchild of Paul I. Kadetz, a Green Templeton College alum who studied for an MSc in Medical Anthropology, followed by a DPhil in International Development from 2007-2012.
Tthe conference was conceptualized when students were invited to submit ideas to mark the merger of Green and Templeton Colleges. Paul wrote a short proposal to the Governing Body for a conference concerning human welfare, which would be convened by Green Templeton students to mark the historic merger. His proposal was accepted by the Governing Body Fellows and so he proceeded to plan and host the First Human Welfare Conference, a daylong event at the Radcliffe Observatory, in May of 2008.