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MA International Development students travel to Brussels for AidEx event

The event is the leading platform for the international aid and development community to come together and share best practice

Group Photo of students at AidEx conference

This November, postgraduate students studying MA International Development travelled to Brussels for the annual AidEx event, the largest international event in the sector. The event has been running for 8 years, establishing itself as the leading platform to share and learn about the efficiency of aid.

The two-day event included a conference, exhibition, meeting areas, awards and workshops from professionals in the sector spanning the third sector, public sector and private sector. The theme for this year was ‘Revolution in the digital age: safeguarding a future for all. How can technology contribute to a positive social impact?’ and this comprised the focus for the presentations and exhibitions during the event.

AidEx has an aim to engage the sector, providing a forum for aid and development workers to meet, network and learn from each other. It presents a unique opportunity for the third sector to engage the private sector in a neutral setting, driving innovation in the sector. The key objective of the event is to facilitate networking and facilitate relationships, with organised activities that encourage attendees to meet and discuss ideas.

MA International Development course leader Dr Roy Smith commented: “Attending AidEx was an excellent opportunity for the students to gain first-hand experience of the overseas aid sector. They heard keynote speeches from high-profile leaders in international politics, international development NGOs and the private sector. Several of the students took advantage of an employability workshop and networking sessions to gain a greater insight into this sector and potential career paths. The students have also commented on how helpful this trip has been in enabling them to better understand and relate to the themes, topics and issues we discuss in class.”

One of the students on the course, Christopher Arogundade Adebiyi Adegoke, told us: “the AidEx Conference was very interesting, providing brilliant information on issues relating to humanitarian aid, development and sustainability now and for the future of different communities around the world. The series of discussions as part of the conference focused on how NGOs and Government agencies should work towards a transparent, efficient, ethical and accountable way of delivering services accessed through Aid to those who need it the most. I did enjoy the experience and I’m looking forward to attending the conference next year”.

Minh Thu Nguyen, another student who attended the trip, commented: "The trip to the Aidex event was a useful bridge between theories and the real world of practice in the development field. This break from lectures gave me the headspace to reflect on all the development issues we discussed in class, such as poverty, refugee, women, health and environment. I saw real interventions on the ground from nearly 200 organisations and businesses ranging from basic industries like food, energy, water, housing, transport to high-tech logistics and financial service.

2 days of continuous workshops with high-profile panellists opened my eyes to the opportunities and challenges in applying new technologies, such as Blockchain and Cryptocurrency, to improve aid transparency and accelerate SDGs ethically. I enjoyed meeting and sharing ideas with other development students and practitioners from all over the world, which taught me how different humanitarian practice is in different regions".

Published on 23 November 2018
  • Subject area: Politics and international studies
  • Category: Current students; School of Arts and Humanities