With the title “Development and Resilience – Re-thinking poverty and intervention in biocultural landscapes” our colleague Jamila successfully defended her thesis today! Jamila presented her work here before, as for instance her publication with Steve Lade on modeling traps and did a marvelous job today to condense five years of PhD research into a 30 minutes presentation. With development as a co-evolutionary process and resilience as a filter she greatly combines big concepts to address down-to-the-earth questions as to why people can become even poorer after development interventions.
Dr. M. Jahi Chappell was the opponent and he filled an hour with deep and inspiring discussions based on Jamilas thesis on the role of development against, for instance, the background that multiple times of revenues flow away from the developing world opposed to the development aid it receives. And why did the most recent World Bank report this year, with the mission “to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in a sustainable way”, misses completely on the environmental factors that humans depend on? As Jamila put it, “what we are doing, even when it seems so obvious, it is yet seen as too complicated”.
Her work is yet not too complicated for the three examiners that were later also invited to ask questions. There were Flore Hajdu, Tobias Plieninger, and Anne Sophie Crépin doing a great job to tap into some more methodological details from Jamilas work. Finally, it just remains to be answered; “how to make people we want to reach listen?“
Well, maybe the dance video by Jamila together with the SRC PhD cohort and colleagues is one way to convey the key messages differently, artistically, and certainly with a lot of fun and believe in our modeling work!