Fundamental to any society’s hope of laying a strong foundation for ideal life outcomes for its citizens is a clear understanding of the conditions that promote optimal development and wellbeing: societal provision for adequate health care; maternal and child nutrition; responsive and developmentally stimulating caregiving; child protection; early learning and educational opportunities and an overall "safety net" of social and economic protections, especially for vulnerable populations. As a field, human development research addresses these conditions and their life outcomes across a large number of fields.
Because it is complex and multi-dimensional in nature, human development cannot be understood through the eyes of any single discipline. The many disciplines and fields that contribute to our knowledge base vary in the degree of attention they pay not only to the processes of development at the individual or socio-cultural levels but to the nature of the transactional relationships they posit between genetic and environmental forces. Collectively, however, they provide a fuller account of the human experience as rooted in biology and expressed in social and cultural contexts.
This multidisciplinary, developmental systems perspective hopefully creates space for scholars from diverse backgrounds (disciplinary, epistemological, or methodological) to pursue lines of inquiry collaboratively that both benefit from and breach traditional boundaries -- all for the purpose of finding practical solutions to pressing challenges of our times in our region.