FSDR Newsletter 2019 Foreword

Hello everyone, and welcome to this first FSDR newsletter (hopefully of many). I would like to begin by thanking everyone who contributed their time, thought, and energy to bringing this together. This is a platform by and for the FSDR members to share, collaborate, and discuss. Though this is perhaps preaching to the choir, development has always been an important field of research and work, but today we stand at an unprecedented crossroads unseen since the foundations of our discipline. Regardless of your politics, it is clear that the Western world is at a moment of internal crisis, the developing world is more connected and seeing greater opportunities than ever before (in part because of the rise of new development partners that challenge the traditional mould), and the climate crisis is on the brink of no return. There are those who might deny these changes and challenges are happening. There are those who might think that they are insurmountable. But we as development professionals have dedicated our lives to the idea of nurturing a growing, changing, and evolving world; to pluralities of knowledge and finding responsible ways forward. We might not know if we can win this fight, but we will continue to jump in with all our hearts, because we know it is the only way to survive. We have a duty to share our knowledge in a way that is helpful and engaging to everyone (this emphasis in Finland is one of the wonderful things of being here). We must be urgent, but we must also be understanding and show respect to all, and do the best we can to communicate by example. Even when we feel like we are beating our heads against a brick wall, we must persevere, because it is our responsibility as people who have dedicated their lives and passion to this field. This is not a struggle that rests solely on our shoulders – it is on the shoulders of our entire species – but it is one that we must be among the leaders in addressing.


Christopher Chagnon, Editor