International Development, Community, and Environment More

The Millennium Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Exploring Elusive Promises

"We, heads of State and Government, have gathered at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 6 to 8 September 2000, at the dawn of a new millennium, to reaffirm our faith in the Organization and its Charter as indispensable foundations of a more peaceful, prosperous and just world."

— United Nations Millennium Declaration, Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly, September 2000

The Millenium Development Goals

In September 2000, over 200 representatives from countries around the world convened during the United Nations' Millennium Summit to agree upon a global agenda, ultimately unanimously adopted as the Millennium Declaration. From this document emerged eight targets with a deadline of December 2015 — collectively, the Millennium Development Goals.

Millennium badges - United Nations

Now, nearly fifteen years later, the ambitious Millennium Development Goals have become a blueprint for major international development stakeholders and have had an undeniable but often controversial global impact. As the deadline draws near at the end of this year, it is becoming clear that they will be followed by a new set of development goals cast in the framework of global sustainability, the Sustainable Development Goals.

As the global community reflects on the past fifteen years and plans for the future, it is time to critically assess the evolution of the Millennium Development Goals from a historical and conceptual perspective—to analyze their specific accomplishments, issues of power, representation, and conflicted development aspirations. Similarly, we must engage in constructive assessment of the emerging Sustainable Development Goals, including their systems of design, targets, participation, commitments, responsibilities, implementation, accountability, and funding.

Events at Clark

From the spring of 2015 to summer 2016, the International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE) Department will be hosting a series of events related to the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals with the intent of engaging the University not only in examining these goals, but also in exploring the role of higher education in shaping the post-2015 development agenda.

Initial focus will be on signature areas of IDCE teaching and research including health, education, gender, poverty alleviation, environment, and refugees/migration. Following in the success of the Difficult Dialogues Initiative at Clark to engage the community with issues that are complex, polarizing, or troubling, IDCE hopes to foster Development Dialogues that will evolve our tradition of encouraging critical analysis and reflection along with increased understanding and discernment.

Engagement Opportunities

A speaker series, highlighting the voices of Clark faculty as well as distinguished guest speakers on issues of international development, open to a campus-wide community.

Community dialogues, facilitating opportunities for the broad campus community to engage with each other and progressively assess the current Millennium Development Goals and critically engage with the post-2015 goal-setting process.

A conference in spring 2016, hosted by IDCE and open to the wider Clark community as well as other institutions, dedicated to exploring the role of higher education in shaping the post-2015 development agenda.

New coursework, including a new course already developed: "The World's Biggest Promise: The Millennium Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda," which is offered for spring 2015. Other courses are exploring the Millennium Development Goals within existing course framework, and student and faculty groups are forming to organize further.

While IDCE is serving as the facilitating agent, the department looks forward to collaborating with departments and individual faculty across the university as topics of interest emerge and coalesce.

Assistant Professor Nigel Brissett - Clark UniversityNigel Brissett
Assistant Professor of International Development and Social Change

Professor Dave Bell - Clark UniversityDave Bell
Associate Professor of Practice, International Development and Social Change

Bisrat Kabeta - Clark UniversityBisrat Kabeta
Research Assistant, International Development and Social Change



Tim Downs

Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Policy



Barbara Thomas-Slayter

IDCE Research Professor