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The "Culture Factor" in International Development and its implications for Global Business.

February 4, 2013

The "Culture Factor" in International Development and its implications for Global Business.

View business through the lens of the liberal arts. Experience a snapshot of the IE Brown EMBA and join Anthropologist Prof. Bianca Dahl as she considers the cultural factors that can affect the success of humanitarian engagement and international development, particularly in light of global disparities in wealth and health. How should global business leaders in turn be thinking about culture? Think beyond business.

There is a growing recognition in international development and philanthropic circles that well-intentioned aid programs do not always produce positive outcomes for the recipients – indeed, that such programs may create new social and medical problems. But what are the kinds of cultural factors that affect the success of such forms of humanitarian engagement, particularly in light of global disparities in wealth and health? How should global business leaders think about culture? Prof. Bianca Dahl addresses these questions in light of her research on philanthropic aid programs that target orphaned children amidst the AIDS epidemic in southern Africa.

About Presenter:

Nationality: Canada and USA

Education: PhD University of Chicago

Area: Anthropology, Health, International Development

University of Toronto

Bianca Dahl is a cultural and medical anthropologist who has been conducting research on the social effects of Botswana’s AIDS epidemic since 2003. Currently Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, Dahl’s work explores the aftermath of international humanitarian efforts to provide aid during the pandemic. Her first book project uses ethnographic methods to expose the unexpected consequences brought about by organizations attempting to provide culturally sensitive care for orphaned children. Moving outside the walls of aid institutions by following children into everyday spaces of village life, Dahl’s research reveals how and why donations of material goods – and the emotional entanglements that accompany them – are forging newly problematic patterns of social relations in rural Botswana. Her newest research tackles a public health puzzle surrounding an unexpected upsurge of social stigma against HIV-positive children in Botswana, amidst the epidemiological factors that are normally associated with significant decreases in levels of stigma.

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