African women from Maasai tribe carrying waterA Global Policy and Justice Series — Spring 2021

Please join the Center for Global Development and Sustainability for four webinars confronting critical national and global issues that will shape sustainable development efforts for decades.

Climate Compatible Development

Anti-racist Development

Development in an Era of Covid-19

Fulfilling the Promise of 40 Acres: African American Reparations in the Twenty-First Century

Next Steps in Climate Compatible Development

Wednesday February 24th, 2021
12:15 pm – 2 pm EDT
Professor Simon Maxwell (European Union)

Moderator: Professor Joseph Assan (Heller School at Brandeis University)

This talk will introduce the concept of ‘climate compatible development’ and will examine what a Global Green New Deal might mean. Maxwell will also address the question of personal engagement in solving this climate emergency. Maxwell is a development economist whose career spans over forty years of research and policy advice in the field of international development.

Register for Climate Compatible Development

Professor Simon Maxwell was President of the Development Studies Association of the UK and Ireland after he served for ten years in Kenya, India and Bolivia for UNDP and the British aid program. Maxwell was a Fellow of the Institute for Development Studies in Sussex from 1981-1997 and then served as Director of the Overseas Development Institute in London from 1997-2009. He was Executive Chair of the Climate and Knowledge Development Network and has written extensively on climate change and development. Maxwell sits on the Steering Committee of the UN Environment Emissions Gap Report. In 2007, he was awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to international development by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

Black Lives and Anti-racist Development

Wednesday March 17th, 2021
12:15 pm – 2 pm EDT
Professor Alfred Zack-Williams (Editorial Board, Review of African Political Economy)
Moderators: Professor Joseph Assan and Professor Maria Madison (Heller School at Brandeis University)

This talk will focus on the structural racial discrimination, ethnic supremacy, and xenophobia, globally and how such tendencies undermine the development of oppressed minorities and marginalized groups. He will then examine policy strategies in achieving anti-racist development and discuss efforts to ensure social mobility and the attainment of racial and economic equity.

Register for Anti-Racist Development

Professor Alfred B. Zack-Williams, a former Visiting Scholar at the Heller GDS Center, is an Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Central Lancashire, UK. He has published 10 books and over 100 articles on the political economy of Africa, and the African Diaspora. He is the past President of the African Studies Association of the UK which in 2020 awarded him the Distinguished Africanist Award. He is a member of the British Academy Africa Panel, and Editor of the Review of African Political Economy. He sits on the Editorial Advisory Board of The International Journal of African and Black Diaspora, and African Sociological Review.

Livelihood Sustainability and Wellbeing in an era of COVID-19 in Developing Countries

Wednesday March 24th, 2021
12:15 pm – 2 pm EDT
Professor Joseph K. Assan (Heller School at Brandeis University)
Discussants: Rose Dodd (Lecturer, Ashesie University, Ghana) and Tawiah Agyarko-Kwarteng (Coordinator, Empowered to Educate, Ghana)
Moderator: Dr. Constance Kane (Executive Director, Empowered to Educate)

The Covid-19 pandemic is having devastating impacts on the livelihoods of millions of households across the globe. The session will first examine these dynamics and discuss some case studies on these devastating impacts. It will also highlight the discriminatory patterns underlying current interventions and consider policy options to redress the situation, especially for female/youth headed households.

Register for Development in an Era of Covid-19

Professor Joseph K. Assan is on the faculty of the Sustainable International Development Program at the Heller School at Brandeis and is the Lead Investigator on Resilience, Poverty Reduction and Development at the Center for Global Development and Sustainability. He also serves as an Editor of CASTE: A Global Journal on Social Exclusion. Before Brandeis, he was Assistant Professor of Development Practice at Trinity College Dublin where he acted as the associate director of the Masters in Development Practice. He has served as the Director of the International Development Program at the University of Liverpool and has worked as a project officer with organizations including the Global Hunger Project (Ghana Office). Assan is a popular speaker at academic and policy conferences discussing policy strategies for Africa’s growth, livelihoods and reducing inequality.

Fulfilling the Promise of 40 Acres: African American Reparations in the Twenty-First Century

Saturday April 10th, 2021
10 am - 12 noon EDT
Professor William A. Darity Jr. (Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, Duke University) and
Kirsten Mullen (folklorist)
Discussant: Professor Chad Williams (Chair, African and African American Studies, Brandeis University)
Moderator: Dr. Roy DeBerry '70, MA'78, PhD'79 (Voices from the Mississippi Hill Country)

Today’s black-white wealth gap originated with the unfulfilled promise of 40 acres in 1865. The payment of this debt in the 21st century is feasible—and at least 156 years overdue. In their award-winning book, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, William Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen advance a general definition of reparations as a program of acknowledgment, redress, and closure. Acknowledgment constitutes the culpable party’s admission of responsibility for the atrocity; admission should include recognition of the damages inflicted upon the enslaved and their descendants and the advantages gained by the culpable party. Redress constitutes the acts of restitution; the steps taken to “heal the wound.” In this context, it means the erasure of the black-white wealth gap. Closure constitutes an agreement by both the victims and the perpetrators that the account is settled.


Professor William A. (“Sandy”) Darity Jr. is the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics and the director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. He was the founding director of the Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality at Duke. Darity’s research focuses on inequality by race, class and ethnicity, stratification economics, schooling and the racial achievement gap, North-South theories of trade and development, skin shade and labor market outcomes, the economics of reparations, the Atlantic slave trade, and the social-psychological effects of exposure to unemployment. His most recent book, co-authored with A. Kirsten Mullen, is From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century (2020).

A. Kirsten Mullen is a folklorist and the founder of Artefactual, an arts-consulting practice, and Carolina Circuit Writers, a literary consortium that brings expressive writers of color to the Carolinas. She was a member of the Freelon Adjaye Bond concept development team that was awarded the Smithsonian Institution’s commission to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture. As a faculty member with the Community Folklife Documentation Institute, she trained students to research and record the state’s African American musical heritage. Her writing includes “Black Culture and History Matter” (The American Prospect), which examines the politics of funding black cultural institutions. She and William A. Darity, Jr. are the authors of From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century (2020).