January 2020 Newsletter: Foreword

Welcome everyone to 2020 and the third iteration of the FSDR newsletter. Although January is often portrayed as a quiet month, where people are left after New Year celebrations blearily staring through cold months to the distant promise of spring, our members have helped put together some great highlights and things to look forward to. As most of you probably know, 2020 is the 50th anniversary of Development Studies in Finland. This is something that will be highlighted in the upcoming Development Days 2020 conference (register today if you have not already!) which will include events looking at how the study became formalized in Finland, and how the study/practice have evolved. This is a huge milestone, and comes at a crucial time: we are right to celebrate the accomplishments of our field, as well as reflect on how we have gotten here, and where we are going to bring our field in the next 50 years. The weather this winter (the warmest in a century)[1] leading up to this momentous event seems to be providing a fitting backdrop for the conversation. In some ways, our field is highly fractured; it is steered globally by politics, but simultaneously often completely misunderstood by politicians and the general public.[2] We have a plethora of voices and opinions, which is great in many ways, but we also live in times that are urgent for our species and our planet, with issues we need to find unity to help solve. Here is hoping that we can take a step toward that this year, and at Development Days.

So, welcome to the newsletter, and I hope that everyone is having a great start to 2020.


Christopher Chagnon, Editor

[1] https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/finland_experiencing_mildest_winter_in_100_years/11160303

[2] For a funny, sad, and frustratingly accurate view on how some of these conversations go, check out this classic sketch from the British comedic duo Mitchell and Webb: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZYgozCTfKc