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close this bookThe Self and the Other: Sustainability and Self-Empowerment (WB, 1996, 76 p.)
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Open this folder and view contentsCulture and development
View the documentKeynote address
Open this folder and view contentsDevelopment and the self
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View the documentEpilogue
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This seminar was one of ten Associated Events held in conjunction with the World Bank's Third Annual Conference on Environmentally Sustainable Development, "Effective Financing of Environmentally Sustainable Development," held in Washington, D.C. October 4 6, 1995. The seminar was jointly sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Environmentally Sustainable Development of the World Bank and the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in consultation with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Institutions and people have had to adapt to change and to seek alternative approaches to promoting sustainable development. This adaptation has required a shift from development paradigms that focused exclusively on economics and politics. Governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, professional analysts, and development practitioners have begun to recognize that combating hunger, poverty, inequality, and violence in a sustainable way requires approaches that view the development process as integrating factors such as ecology, environment, technology, cultural diversity, and human capacity.

One factor that has largely escaped consideration is the development of the individual during rapid socioeconomic change. In dealing with such factors as religious fundamentalism, ethnic hatred, the rise of prejudice, and the anomie felt by so many of the youth in today's world, recognition of individual development is essential for a deeper understanding of the processes of development and for the more effective pursuit of environmentally sustainable development.

This seminar addressed these issues by focusing on the link between culture and the shaping of an individual's identity through the perception of the self and the other. It explored new integrated approaches to human-centered development, emphasizing child development, gender equality, and education. The seminar brought together people from a broad range of backgrounds, including psychoanalysts, anthropologists, educators, academics, finance specialists, historians, representatives of United Nations agencies, leaders of nongovernmental organizations, and staff of the World Bank.

The primary objectives of the seminar were to

· Explore and generate a consensus on an integrated approach to development and capacity building of the individual in this time of unprecedented socioeconomic change

· Shed light on the perceptions of the self and the other as essential components in empowering people to take charge of their destinies and become equal and efficient partners in development

· Identify links between the issues of parenting, education, and self-empowerment and the process of sustainable development.

Clearly, this meeting was only a first step in an exploration of different, deeper, and broader ways of understanding sustainable development. The views expressed here build from the individual to the broader collectivity and back to the individual-views that look to the self and the other as the keys to understanding human behavior and society with all its specificities. Although we had not intended to formally publish the proceedings of this seminar, demand from many colleagues prompted us to do so. We hope that this modest volume will help engage others in this important intellectual journey.

Ismail Serageldin
Afaf Mahfouz