Penn Global Development Initiative


The United Nations has declared a set of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be reached by 2015, and has enlisted all major intergovernmental, governmental and non-governmental agencies in this effort. Collaborating on the MDGs offers an opportunity for Penn faculty and students to engage globally and synergistically, in the interest of public service and learning.

The Penn Global Development Initiative (Penn GDI) seeks to enhance the University as a global player in international research, policy and development; to illuminate the potential of research universities (such as Penn) to contribute to the MDGs; and to enable new synergies across the Penn international community of students, faculty and staff.  Each of Penn’s 12 schools has human resources relevant to one or more of the MDGs, and there are students and faculty from each school participating in the Penn GDI.  The GDI began in September 2006 as a one-year planning effort built around several faculty-student initiatives, each with a specific set of objectives, ranging from international internships to a Spring GDI Forum.

With support from the Provost’s Global Initiative Fund, the planned activities of the Penn GDI in 2007-08 will be organized around the following:

  • International internships for students. This initiative will focus on the promotion of knowledge-to-practice engagement through internships and service learning opportunities – while paying careful attention to the reciprocal and long-term relationships essential for success. Various international NGOs and UN agencies are expected to partner in this effort, building on the successful global collaboration with Save the Children Federation in 2006-07.
  • Establishment of new Graduate Group on International Development.  The goal is to foster a collaboration among faculty, staff and students that could lead to the establishment of a new multi-disciplinary, cross-Penn program of study in international development.
  • Annual GDI Spring Forum. This activity will focus on planning, implementing and galvanizing the Second Annual GDI Spring Forum, to be held at Penn on April 10-11, 2008.  Invited keynote speakers will participate, along with Penn faculty and students.
  • Communications and Dissemination.  The major responsibility of this initiative is to publicize the GDI and inform the Penn international development community through website ( creation/management, e-newsletter, and related communications and information.

GDI Steering Committee: (Faculty/Staff) Dan Wagner (co-Chair, GSE), Emily Hannum (co-Chair, SAS), Roger Allen (SAS), Jere Behrman (SAS), William Burke-White (Law), Kelly Cleary (Career Services), Richard Estes (SSPP), Inge Herman (Huntsman), Nancy Hornberger (GSE), John Keene (Design), Skip Collins (Dental Medicine), Mohamed Maamouri (SAS), Carol McLaughlin (SOM/CHIP), Marjorie Muecke, (Nursing), Neal Nathanson (SOM), Jennifer Pinto-Martin (Nursing), Brian Strom (SOM), Joe Sun (SEAS), Michael Useem (Wharton). (Students), Nuwan Jayawickreme (SAS), Jennifer Kobrin (GSE), Lusine Poghosyan (Nursing), Brian Quimby, (SEAS), Elizabeth Slavitt (SAS), Erin Shipley (Wharton).

Faculty Contacts: Dan Wagner ( or Emily Hannum (