International Development

hands holding the world over grass

International Development is an interdisciplinary field which trains students to be skilled, critical and practical agents of change in an unequal world. Our graduates go on to work for governments, civil society organizations, and private and social enterprises. They contribute a unique combination of knowledge, business skills and innovative thinking that is needed to address the complex global challenges we face today. 

Our program is unique in the way it balances classroom-based instruction with practical training both in students’ local communities and internationally. This approach is designed to equip our graduates to be agents of change in ways that are effective, responsible, and sustainable. 

This program is delivered as a collaboration between United College and the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Environment. 

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Meet United's International Development Professors 

John Abraham

Academic Dean, Continuing Lecturer and Manager of International Work Experience for the INDEV and MDP programs

John Abraham spent most of his childhood and youth living across four countries on three continents. It was here that his interdisciplinary academic journey began. He completed an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies at the University of Calgary, followed by a Masters in Philosophy degree in Modern South Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Politics and International Relations from Royal Holloway, University of London. Subsequently, he undertook two postdoctoral fellowships: one on Community Based Conservation at St. Mary’s University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and the second on Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo (WISIR), before serving as Assistant Professor of Global Studies and Social Entrepreneurship at Wilfrid Laurier University between 2016-19. Following the completion of that appointment, he joined the International Development Program at United College.

His current research takes an interdisciplinary focus, engaging with issues of religion, political economy, environment, social innovation, and decolonization. His recent and forthcoming journal publications have addressed issues of social innovation, the intellectual history of international development, and the global political economy. Two of his longer-term research projects include a book-length study of the political economy of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in India and a decolonial analysis of the life and work of the English activist and clergyman Charles Freer Andrews. He actively engages with the international development professional community and serves as a Board member of both the Mennonite Central Committee, Ontario and the Ontario Council for International Cooperation.

Julie Kate Seirlis

Continuing Lecturer International Development, Indigenous Studies, and Human Rights

Julia (Julie Kate) Seirlis holds a BA in English, French, Italian, Latin and Private Law from the University of Cape Town and an MSt and DPhil in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oxford. Her doctorate examined the relationships between race and space in the construction -- and alienation -- of Coloured ("mixed race") identities in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe. 

Teferi Mergo

Assistant Professor of Economics

I grew up in Ethiopia during a very turbulent time – surrounded by serious economic hardships and socio-political upheaval – which sparked my early interest in development economics, setting me on an improbable journey to pursuing higher education in Economics at Berkeley.

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