The Seminar on Governance and Development was hosted by the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) as one of several academic events in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan, Chancellor of the University.
The Seminar focused on analysing a number of development models, across countries and regions that reflect different socioeconomic and political realities - past and present. Countries and regions discussed during the Seminar included China, Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. These countries and regions have enjoyed measures of economic prosperity, but with different political structures, and thus present valuable case studies for further exploration and reflection on lessons learned.
In theoretical terms, the issue of development is multi-faceted, encapsulating economic, social and political elements. It is important to be receptive to these terms and to be able to examine what is defined as development, and by whom. It is critical to understand what is meant by 'good' governance and in turn whether 'good' governance (however it is defined) is a marker of development.
Is governance successful only if it yields economic growth? And does economic growth, in turn, define development? These issues, among others, were among those discussed during the Seminar on Governance and Development.
The Seminar was held at the Ismaili Centre, London, on the 7th of March 2008. It attracted a wide range of speakers from around the world, and participants from a diverse array of arenas including government, the diplomatic corps, the media and business.