Center for Global Development and Sustainability

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Center for Global Development and Sustainability

Center for Global Development and Sustainability

Interdisciplinary, Multinational

The Center for Global Development and Sustainability is an interdisciplinary and multinational group that advances scholarship and applied research on problems of vulnerability in developing countries as well as in advanced economies. Its core faculty and affiliated researchers include those from varied disciplines of the natural and social sciences, development studies and the humanities. GDS engages in partnerships in the U.S. and throughout the world that build understanding and expand capacity for sustainable and emancipatory development.

Program on Climate Change, Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods

A grandmother and her grandchildren plant a tree in a drought-stricken rural area of West Bengal, India. © 2009 Kingshuk Chakravarty, Courtesy of PhotoshareThe Program on Climate Change, Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods aims to develop adaptation, resilience and sustainable livelihood options for marginal and vulnerable societies and communities in developing and emerging middle-income countries. Working in collaboration with regional partners, the group seeks to achieve its objectives through applied empirical research and by linking national and regional climate change researchers to globally respected scientific expertise. At the program’s inaugural meeting in 2014, GDS established the Applied Knowledge and Intervention Network of collaborating institutions in West and East Africa, North East and South Asia to develop resilience and sustainable livelihood options as well as ensure food security for vulnerable communities. Our work in this area is focused on linking research to effective policy and practical measures that assist communities to develop needed adaptations.

Program on Social Exclusion

A man from the Nairobi slum of Korogocho hefts his last bag of trash for the day in hopes of selling the mostly rubber scraps for $.50 USD. © 2012 Micah Albert / Pulitzer Center, Courtesy of PhotoshareProgram on Social Exclusion advances research and scholarship on the barriers that still block large groups from meaningful participation in economic growth in both developing and advanced economies. The program examines societal influences that aid or constrain inclusive policies including attitudes toward race, ethnicity, caste and tribal identity, gender, sexual orientation and religious tradition, and promotes global dialogue to promote inclusion. The program has initiated research and dialogue on how religion is both a powerful social force as well as an essential structure for giving meaning to the very idea of development and progress, and also how it can be utilized and manipulated to consolidate a repressive status quo.

GDS launches CASTE: A Global Journal on Social Exclusion

The GDS Center has launched an open access, peer-reviewed journal to advance scholarship into the caste system and other hereditary forms of marginalization of religious, racial and cultural minorities. READ about the journal. Sign up now for a free subscription at

Bequest endows the GDS Center

Through the generosity of Seymour Bluestone, M.D., Brandeis has received an $8.4 million bequest that endows the GDS Center, the Sustainable International Development Program and the Transitional Year Program.  See the full announcement

GDS receives the Heller School Team Research Award for 2017

The 2017 Heller Team Research Award was presented to a GDS Research team for its impact evaluation in Uttar Pradesh of the Akshaya Patra Foundation’s Midday Meal Scheme in Lucknow, India: A School Level Evaluation. Mandated by the Supreme Court of India, the Midday Meal Scheme provides free meals for students throughout the nation. The evaluation team was headed by Prof. Joseph Assan (Principal Investigator) and included Prof. Laurence Simon (Co-PI) and two GDS PhD students – Dinar Kharisma (of Indonesia) and Afia Adaboh (of Ghana). Abdullah Al Mamun, a graduate of the Heller Sustainable International Development Program, flew in from Bangladesh to conduct trainings and help supervise the survey team based on his work with the Aga Khan Foundation and BRAC. Based on surveys conducted with 1,338 students and 175 teachers within the Lucknow Area, the evaluation is being used to improve the management and effectiveness of the Lucknow Area program involving almost 64,000 students in 729 schools. The evaluation was conducted in cooperation with the Akshaya Patra staff in Lucknow. 

Explore GDS Conferences on Social Exclusion

GDS organized conferences on the Unfinished Legacy of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. Visit the conference page. 

Read the GDS Newsletter

GDS is actively engaged with critical issues of development. See our current newsletter for summaries of selected projects.

Watch Videos of GDS conference and events. Read over 38 GDS documents and working papers.

Knowledge Advancing Social Justice

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