About the Conference


Theme: Leadership for Inclusive Development

The ‘Leadership for Inclusive Development’ (#L4ID) theme allows us to explore both what leadership is and what it does from diverse perspectives. We see leadership as having individual, collective and society-wide dimensions, thus allowing personal and global perspectives to be addressed at the same time.

The overall aim of the conference is to explore the leadership required ‘to leave no-one behind’, as referenced in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We will explore how leadership can and does advance inclusion and social change, as well as addressing not just the technical challenges of development but also the power, political, social and cultural dimensions that impact experiences of inclusion or exclusion. 

 The conference seeks to explore these issues through:

  • sharing relevant research, experience and ideas between academics, development practitioners, government agencies and private sector organisations; and
  • exploring and debating the new leadership challenges, ideas and collaborations which are likely to be of importance to the sector.

At a time when populism, xenophobia and nationalism is on the rise, and climate change poses an existential threat to humanity, understanding how each of us as individuals - and collectively - help contest the ideas and processes that have given rise to these trends is critically important.

At the same time, we need to be building the processes and forms of international collaboration and solidarity which model alternative ways of addressing the common problems we face and ensure we are leaving no-one behind.  These are all issues which have important leadership dimensions, and in the face of global challenges, we can ask ourselves ‘is genuine leadership lacking or is a new kind of leadership needed?’. 

Some of the sub-themes we will explore during the conference will include:

  • Different understandings and experiences of leadership
  • Individual leadership, values, interest and ideas
  • Organisational/institutional change and leadership
  • Societal change and collective action
  • The role of development agencies
  • Communities and inclusive development
  • Teaching and collaborative leadership


History of the RDI Conference

Previously known as the ACFID University Network conference, the RDI Conference 2019 is a continuation of the ACFID University Network conference series. These conferences have become valued in the development field for their genuine contribution to cross-sectoral dialogue and a balanced inclusion of contributions from academia, policy and practice.

There have been six past conferences:

  • 2009 – La Trobe University - Meeting the Millennium Development Goals: Old Problems, New Challenges
  • 2011 – Deakin University - An Australian Approach to Development? People, Practice and Policy
  • 2012 – Australian National University - Challenges of Participatory Development in Contemporary Development Practice
  • 2013 – University of Technology Sydney - Development Futures: Alternative Pathways to End Poverty
  • 2015 – Monash University, Melbourne - Evidence and practice in an age of inequality
  • 2017 – Sydney University - Partnering for Impact on Sustainable Development

You can read more about all of these past conference on the RDI Network website here.