New book, Practicing Development, includes a chapter by NDIGD director

Author: Luis Ruuska

Ray Offenheiser

Kumarian Press, a division of Lynne Rienner Publishers, has published a new book, Practicing Development: Upending Assumptions for Positive Change, which includes a chapter on “Reimagining Development Practice” by Ray Offenheiser, the director of the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD), and a distinguished professor of the practice in the Keough School of Global Affairs, NDIGD's parent unit at the University of Notre Dame.

“Development has historically been a process of the powerful imagining ways in which the less powerful might reproduce their path to economic growth and diversification,” says Offenheiser. “Writing this chapter was an opportunity to step out of this top-down, post-colonial narrative and turn the paradigm upside down and reimagine the process as one approached with the humility of a fellow traveler on a complex journey in which I had as much to learn as to give and one in which the end was the full transfer of agency to those we hope to serve as early as possible.”

“I hope that students might take from this chapter that true development is about empowering the poor and vulnerable to own their own development and that the development practitioner should always approach their role with the mindset that they are only present to work themselves out of a job,” explains Offenheiser. “Anything less is to perpetuate long-term dependency and poverty of imagination and spirit.”

Offenheiser's expertise and policy work is focused on food security and agricultural policy; foreign assistance policy; humanitarian response to natural disasters and armed conflict; human rights and activism; and sustainability in corporate supply chains. Prior to joining Notre Dame in August 2017, Offenheiser was the president of Oxfam America—a Boston-based international relief and development agency and the U.S. affiliate of Oxfam International—for over 20 years. He has served on the advisory boards of the World Economic Forum, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Aspen Institute, among other organizations.

"Practicing Development bridges the gap between academia and the world of practice to address challenges and propose concrete steps toward more equitable, effective, and sustainable development," reads the publisher's official description. "The authors draw from their on-the-ground experiences as they discuss what 'development' is, how to attain it, and what their findings mean for the funding and practice of development efforts. Often challenging conventional wisdom, they provide a range of concrete examples of innovation, responsiveness, and sustainability—and perhaps most important, explore how practitioners might be better educated to achieve positive change."

Practicing Development was released in May 2019 and is available for purchase through Lynne Rienner Publishers, as well as other major booksellers.

The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD)—an integral part of the new Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame—works to address global poverty and inequality through policy, practice, and partnership. 

Contact: Luis Ruuska, communications specialist, Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development,