The theme for 2017 is Reinventing Empowerment in the 21st Century.
Through this, we seek to address the difficult questions of what constitutes being 'empowered'; why empowerment is important; and whether the term remains meaningful in today’s context of rapidly changing political landscapes, economic uncertainty and ecological challenges.
We seek to question if the concept helps or hinders how we understand power. How do we know when a development initiative, technological advancement or technocratic approach empowers the most vulnerable? What are the risks of disempowerment? How can the West encourage meaningful change without dominating the discourse?
Crucially, the Conference takes a multi-disciplinary approach, opening space for a dialogue on the meaning and realisation of empowerment on micro-, meso-, and macro- levels. Established academics join with emerging young scholars and thinkers from outside academia to grapple with the key issues for advancing human welfare today. Specific panels will address empowerment in the context of refugees and migrants; HIV/AIDS; biotechnology; poverty; and education.
Following the event, a 'Conference Manifesto' will be produced based on the ideas that have arisen over the course of the two days. This will promulgate attendees’ collective commitment to Human Welfare Empowerment in the 21st Century.
Ultimately, the Conference seeks to explore this pivotal topic through presentations, discussion and debate, and most importantly - your participation. We hope that you will join us in deliberating and "Reinventing Empowerment."