Education, Human Development and Sustainability

Human Development and Capability Association Conference 2016, Tokyo

In August 2016, Dr Caroline Hart contributed to the annual Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA) conference in Tokyo.

The conference takes place in a different country each year and for 2016, delegates were hosted by Hitotsubashi University, Japan. The HDCA places people at the centre of development, and supports research and practices that provide an alternative to solely economic-based measures of development. When describing this research and practice, Dr Hart stated, ‘Human development and capability approaches do not assume that economic growth alone will lead to improving the lives people lead; in particular the capability approach recognises that individuals will vary in their abilities to convert resources into ways of living that they have reason to value. Therefore in addressing issues of development, equity and social justice, this paradigm calls for the inclusion of multiple social indicators alongside economic indicators to measure progress.’

Summer School

Dr Hart began her week in Japan by co-leading a two-day summer school for 40 global doctoral students who are studying human development within multiple disciplines around the world. A key aim was to help establish a global inter-disciplinary network of scholars of human development that can be sustained and evolved as time goes on. Alongside teaching from Caroline, alongside co-leaders Sridhar Venkatapuram (Kings College, London) and Graciela Tonon (Universidad Nacional de Lomas de Zamora, Argentina), the summer school also welcomed contributions from leading scholars including Professor Kotaro Suzumura (economics, Hitotsubashi University), Jo Coast (Health Economics, Bristol), Jay Drydyk (Philosophy, Carleton University, US) and Jon Hall (UNDP).

The main HDCA conference took place over three days with many interesting papers examining a wide range of human development issues, with a particular emphasis this year on diversity and sustainable human development. As the Education Officer of HDCA, Dr Hart welcomes ideas for further developing their networks, resources and activities. Her own HDCA conference paper this year was on understanding diversity in higher education systems.


International Colleagues

This is a timely topic in light of the Sustainable Development Goals which include ensuring, ‘equal access for all 

women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university’ by 2030.

Find out more about the HDCA here

Later in the week Dr Hart co-led a workshop with Jon Hall from the UNDP Human Development Report Office, on the launch of new teaching resources on human development. Universities, NGOs, policy makers and communities, to introduce key ideas in human development, will use these. The resources are now freely available to download and use via a new website: here you can feed back on the resources, as well as uploading your own to share with others.

You can also contact Dr Hart ( if you have ideas to discuss regarding taking this resource forward.