Chloe Schwenke, PhD (President)

Transformational – not transformative – leadership

Transformational – not transformative – leadership

I’m an unrepentant advocate of “transformational” leadership – not “transformative” leadership. Is this a semantics storm in a teacup? After all, “transformative” and “transformational” are similar terms…but there are important differences. “Transformative” generally refers to something that brings about a significant change or transformation. It implies a person, process, or an event that has the […]

A fundamental question of hope

A fundamental question of hope rainbow swoops on a yellow background

Once again, it’s Pride Month around the world. Unlike most such commemorative Pride Months in the recent past, however, the joyful celebrations of identity, expression, rights, and dignity that Pride signifies are now tinged with an ominous and – particularly for transgender persons – alarming recognition. The anti-LGBTQI+ pushback, well-orchestrated and exceptionally well-funded, has now […]

Artificial Intelligence, and Ian’s school

Artificial Intelligence, and Ian’s school a robot hand with a butterfly perched on it

In 2018, I had the remarkable opportunity to visit my son while he was serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa. Ian taught at a public secondary school in the Ouesse commune in the Collines Department of Benin, with students ranging in age from 10 to 25. The school facilities were very […]

But what problems can applied ethics solve?

But what problems can applied ethics solve? three people gathered around a laptop

In late 2011, just six months into my service as a Senior Advisor to USAID (political appointee under the Obama administration), I managed to convene a gathering of eleven of USAID’s top strategic planners and senior analysts in one room. I posed a single question to them: “Would it not be advantageous to include the […]

Morality in foreign policy: reflections on a remarkable gentleman from Plains, Georgia

Morality in foreign policy: reflections on a remarkable gentleman from Plains, Georgia

It was June of 1979, and I was newly arrived in Kenya for what would become ten years working in and exploring that beautiful country. Being a little insecure in this new environment, I was cautious when a young Kenyan man approached me in Nairobi while I stood in the long queue awaiting entrance to the National Museum of Kenya. Still, his smile was disarmingly warm as […]

Yearning for meaning in international development

Yearning for meaning in international development a sepia colored photo of a man walking down a dirt road at dawn

It takes a certain acquired skill to balance a career as a practitioner in humanitarian response and international development with a “night job” as an adjunct professor of public policy.  I have done this delicate balancing act at both Georgetown University and the University of Maryland for two decades; I have no plans to stop […]

USAID’s Core Values:  Really “Core”?

USAID’s Core Values:  Really “Core”? a compass with a black background. the red north arrow points to the words Core Value

My first and only visit to the African Development Bank, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, was in 1989. I went there expressly to meet with their environmental specialist, an American gentleman whose name I sadly cannot now recall. I was then a very young town & regional planner, based in Nairobi, and I was very interested in […]

Pride, for Everyone

Pride, for Everyone people walking in Moldova Pride holding big pink hearts overhead

Pride Month is here, but its significance varies enormously depending on your moral stance on sexual and gender minorities. Critics argue that gay and transgender people contravene norms of human relationships and identity that have largely prevailed – with some notable exceptions and grey areas – for millennia. In truth, heteronormativity and cisgender bias have […]

A Change to the Paradigm?

A Change to the Paradigm? Chloe Schwenke speaking at the 2017 conference of the Society for International Development in Washington, DC.

Is it simply the height of absurdity for a small, start-up non-profit organization called the Center for Values in International Development to think we might provoke a course-correction for a major federal agency? Almost certainly. Especially when this non-profit stands alone as the only organization of ethicists working in the international relief and development industry […]

Putin’s sovereignty

Putin’s sovereignty members of the Russian army

“Contempt for human beings is intrinsic to the mentality of officials who rule rights-denying states.” These words by Princeton philosopher George Kateb have seldom been more clearly and tragically demonstrated than what we are now witnessing as Vladimir Putin launches his barbaric assault against the people and the free, democratic nation of Ukraine. Such a […]

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