The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced grants totaling $5.6 million to ten universities in eight countries to establish new Master's in Development Practice programs.
The final round of grants in the foundation's three-year, $16 million initiative to create MDP programs at up to fifteen universities worldwide includes awards of $800,000 each to the Institute of Political Sciences in France, the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center in Costa Rica, Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Winnipeg in Canada; and $200,000 each to BRAC University in Bangladesh, the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, the University of Waterloo in Canada, and the University of California, Davis.
MDP programs are designed to offer graduate students training beyond the typical focus on the study of economics and management found in most development studies, with the core curricula integrating classroom study in a range of disciplines, including the natural, social, and health sciences, to better prepare practitioners to address global challenges such as sustainable development, climate change, and extreme poverty.
A global MDP secretariat supported by MacArthur and based at Columbia University's Earth Institute will help manage the MDP network of universities and will work to develop an open-source repository for the curriculum and other teaching materials. By 2013, participating universities are expected to enroll a total of eight hundred students a year.
"Today's global development challenges — from human rights to extreme poverty and climate change — are interconnected," said MacArthur Foundation vice president for Global Security and Sustainability Barry Lowenkron. "So the next generation of sustainable development leaders must be able to draw on our best knowledge across multiple fields such as agronomy, health, and the environment."