Polson Institute for Global Development

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The Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Institute for Global Development was established in 2001 as a research and outreach institute within the Department of Development Sociology of Cornell University.

The Polson Institute for Global Development promotes theoretical and applied research activities related to global development. The goal of these activities is to enhance and extend the intellectual work and exchange among members of the Development Sociology Department, and between the Department and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and other colleges and programs of Cornell University, as well as off-campus development institutes and organizations. The activities of the Polson Institute also include instruction, outreach and interaction with other institutes and programs in the field of development, as well as special lectures, workshops, and seminars. 

In September 2001, Professor David Brown was officially inaugurated as the Director of the Institute. Professor Douglas Gurak became Director in January 2006; and Professor Shelley Feldman became Director in June 2012. Associate Professor Lori Leonard became Director in March 2016.

The activities of the Polson Institute include research, instruction, outreach and interaction with other institutes and programs in the field of development, as well as special lectures, workshops, seminars and working paper series.

Banner image courtesy of David Sasaki on Flickr.

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Latest News from the Polson Institute

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Changing the World, One Website at a Time

Aug 22, 2017
by Mark R. Rank | Context, August 2, 2017.  This article focuses on the work of the website, https:/// created by Development Sociology Professor Tom Hirschl with support from the Polson Institute for Global Development.

  Read more

Farm to Plate Conference: Uniting to Create, Educate, and Celebrate a Sustainable & Just Local Food System, Farm to Plate Conference

May 11, 2017
May 11th - 13th 2017, Ithaca, NY
Workshops and paper sessions, local strategy sessions, farm tours, cooking demonstrations, keynote speakers and more!
Keynote Speakers include:MALIK YAKINI, Executive Director of the Detroit Black Food Security Coalition
RAJ PATEL, Writer, Activist and Research ProfessorLyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas,
ERNESTO MENDEZAssociate Professor of Agroecology & Environmental Studies, UVM & Project G.I.V.E
RAFA APONTE, owner of Rocky Acres Community Farm
HANNAH WITTMANAcademic Director, Center for Sustainable Food Systems, UBC
JAMILA SIMONNYS 4-H Citizenship & Civic Engagement Specialist
THOR OECHSNER, Organic grain farmer, Oechsner Farm, Co-Owner, Farmer Ground Flour

Organized by Roots Rising Farm, Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming, and
the Food, Agroecology, Justice and Wellbeing Collective at Cornell
Learn More at:
The Farm to Plate Conference is generously funded by: Engaged Cornell, Polson Institute for Global Development, Einaudi Center for International Studies, Park Foundation, the Cornell Institute for the Social Sciences and a Sustainable Tompkins Neighborhood Mini-Grant Read more

Left-Wing Politics and Women's Leadership in Latin America

Apr 13, 2017
The recent shift towards right-wing conservatism in several countries in Latin America has generated a pessimistic future for populist and leftist political parties and movements in the region. Nowhere are these discussions about the future of the “new left” more prevalent than in Peru, where former left-leaning presidential candidate Verónika Mendoza and the Frente Amplio movement gained rapid popularity and received nearly twenty-percent of the electoral votes in the 2016 elections. In a country that hasn’t experienced a Left in decades, Verónika Mendoza’s close victory and advocacy for progressive causes, such as the protection of the environment and the defense of women’s rights and LGBTQ rights, has inspired a new generation of hope for upcoming grassroots political leaders in the region. Read more