Debating Development

Course Code :9009UAOOUD
Study domain:
Academic year:2018-2019
Semester:1st semester
Contact hours:30
Study load (hours):84
Contract restrictions: No contract restriction
Language of instruction:English
Exam period:exam in the 1st semester
Lecturer(s)Gert Van Hecken
Janus Verrelst
Mollie Gleiberman
Sarah Vancluysen
Ivan Ashaba
Cassandra Vet

3. Course contents *

This annual series of eight debates has the intention to expose students and the interested public to contemporary development topics. We offer a platform for reflection on current topics in the field of development to a broad public. Each topic is introduced on the basis of a presentation by a renowned speaker. A discussant sets the stage for further debate. Our guest speakers come from international institutes, civil society and academia. Most of the discussions will be moderated by the academic staff of the University of Antwerp.

Students are not expected to be debaters themselves. They are actually the spectators of the debates, but there is room for questions and critical remarks at the end of each session. The focus of the course is on the academic content, not on debating skills.

As we put a strong emphasis on the academic content, we aim at a nuanced approach to the topics.

Every year we select a different central theme. The previous years we covered natural resources, democracy, urban development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Programme 2018: Climate change: global challenges, unequal burdens?


Climate change is arguably the most critical and complex challenge that the world is facing in the 21st century. Its impacts often hit the world’s poorest first, threatening human development efforts that have been made so far. Collective global action to combat climate change is urgently needed. Yet, efforts of climate change governance are often hampered through discussions on unequal impacts and burdens. In this debating series, we explore the link between development and climate change, discuss current recent advances and obstacles in climate change action and assess the role and responsibilities of science, politics, business and society therein.

Our debates are scheduled for every Tuesday from 9 October to 4 December 2018. From 7 to 9 pm, City Campus, University of Antwerp.

Tuesday 9 October
Addressing climate change: from despair to hope (overview lecture)

  • Aviel Verbruggen (Applied Economics, UAntwerp)
  • Tine Hens (MO* Magazine)

Tuesday 16 October
Migrant or refugee: should climate change migrants have refugee status?

  • Caroline Zickgraf (The Hugo Observatory, University of Liège)
  • Flor Didden (11.11.11)
  • Samuel Lietaer (Center for Studies on Sustainable Development, Université Libre de Bruxelles)

Tuesday 30 October
The global impacts of individual choices: what should we be worried about?

  • Kristof Cuadros Perez (Climate Response)
  • Discussant to be announced

Tuesday 6 November
Natural disasters, climate change, and vulnerable populations: whose responsibility to help?

Speakers to be announced

Tuesday 13 November
Climate policy and the role of multilevel governance

  • Harald Fuhr (Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Potsdam)
  • Carola Betzold Klock (Centre for International Research, Sciences Po Paris)
  • Lien Vandamme (11.11.11)

Tuesday 20 November
Sustainable food systems: can we feed more people with less impact?

  • Ivan Janssens (Centre of Excellence: Global Change Ecology, UAntwerp)
  • Diane Schoonhoven (Boerenbond)
  • Nick Jacobs (International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems - IPES)

Tuesday 27 November
The business of climate change

  • Peter Newell (Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex)
  • Jan Cools (IMDO, UAntwerp)
  • Steven Van Passel (Applied Economics, UAntwerp)

Tuesday 4 December
The next phase of the energy transition: a new kind of challenges?

  • Jochen Markard (Group for Sustainability and Technology, ETH Zurich)
  • Harro Van Lente (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University)
  • Aviel Verbruggen (Applied Economics, UAntwerp)


Join the debate on social media

Enter the debates online by using #debdev on Twitter or on Facebook. Follow the facebook event here:

Get involved in student participation for development

The University Foundation for Development Cooperation (USOS) offers a wide range of on-campus activities on development. Go to and join us.