Seminar 2 – International Volunteering and the Millennium Development Goals: Making a Difference?

Wednesday, 25th March 2015

10.00 – 1600hrs

University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland

Whilst delivering on the millennium development goals (UNDP, 2005) are often seen through the lens of ‘development studies’. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) engages in rhetoric of using tourism as a vehicle to help deliver poverty alleviation. In both of these discourses International volunteering plays a key role. Whilst the websites of companies and indeed,volunteers engage in a dialogue of ‘making a difference’ (Fee and Mdee, 2011; Hindle et al., 2007, Raymond, 2008) this seminar will take a critical review of making a difference to whom (e.g. the volunteer (CV building); the companies (profits from emotive selling)). Government initiatives such the DFID, International Citizen Service will be used as a vehicle to discuss the use of a range of organisations both development and tourism focused to deliver on their agenda. An area that has also received DFID funding in the past, yet is still an under researched area but enormous potential to deliver on the MDG’s is that of diaspora volunteering (Scheyvens, 2007; DVA, 2013).

Professor Matt Baillie Smith (Northumbria University) will be talking about “International volunteering and the changing aid and development landscape: volunteering cultures, development knowledges and South-South volunteering“.

Matt Baillie Smith

Matt Baillie Smith is Professor of International Development in the Department of Social Sciences and Languages and Director of the Centre for International Development at Northumbria University. Matt previously worked for a development NGO, and he continues to work in partnership with a range of international development organisations. His research interests are focused on volunteering and development, development education, NGOs, citizenship and civil society. He is advisor to the DfID funded Global Learning Partnership, the NGO ‘Think Global’ and lead consultant on the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ Global Review of Volunteering.  He is author of ‘International volunteering and development: global citizenship and neoliberal professionalisation today’ (Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 2011 – with Nina Laurie) and ‘International volunteering, faith and subjectivity: negotiating cosmopolitanism, citizenship and development’ (Geoforum, 2013 – with Nina Laurie, Peter Hopkins and Betsy Olson). Matt’s current work includes research on South-South volunteering, medical volunteering and the relationships between diverse volunteers in development contexts. For more information see

International Speaker Mary Mostafanezhad (University of Hawai’i at Manoa) will be talking about “To what extent does volunteer tourism make a difference?

Mary Mostafanezhad

Mary Mostafanezhad is an assistant professor at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Mary’s research interests lie at the intersection of critical geopolitics and mobilities such as tourism, development and humanitarianism. Her current research examines volunteer tourism and the geopolitics of hope in northern Thailand. Mary is the author of Volunteer Tourism: Popular Humanitarianism in Neoliberal Times (Ashgate) and co-editor of Cultural Encounters: Ethnographic Updates from Asia and the Pacific Islands (University of Hawai’i Press) and co-editor of Moral Encounters in Tourism (Ashgate). She is also an acting board member for the Association of American Geographers Recreation, Tourism and Sport Specialty Group, the co-founder of the Critical Tourism Studies Asia-Pacific Consortium, an affiliated faculty member in the Thai Studies Department at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and an affiliated researcher in the Research Network on Celebrity and North South Relations.

Tony J. Spence Programmes Coordinator Raleigh International will be talking about “International Volunteering: Making a Difference to Whom?Tony Spence

Tony is the Programmes Coordinator for Raleigh International with a specific focus on Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL). He has previously worked overseas with Raleigh Tanzania as a Volunteer Team Leader, a Deputy Operations Manager and a Country Manager for the International Citizen Service Programme. During this time Tony managed the day-to-day delivery of numerous projects and supported the continuous development of MEL systems to ensure programmatic quality.

In 2014 Tony joined Raleigh’s Programmes and Policy Team in London and continues to use his overseas experience to support the progression of programmatic design, delivery and impact. Tony holds a degree in Intentional Relations and Philosophy and has a particular interest in impact evaluation and social or cultural barriers to development.