I take it that you are interested in international development? Given the plethora of blogs out there on this sector, why should you read ours? Well, give me a few minutes and I’ll see if I can persuade you that we offer something a little different…

Five years ago, Fred Keenan and I met at the University of Western Ontario to work on an exciting new (and unique) degree program on Civil Engineering with International Development. The two of us are professional engineers who have worked around the world on a large variety of projects. I have a background in the oil and gas, mining and renewable energy sectors and Fred is a structural engineer, who has transformed into a leading Canadian expert in international development over his 40+ year career. We have both seen the good and the bad of aid and development work, and appreciate the contribution of technical professionals to this sector. And yet, no one ever bothers to teach people in this cross-disciplinary area; hence the new (and gratifyingly successful) degree at Western. We now have a number of our graduates working in development and Fred and I are immensely proud of their achievements.

During the process of creating the program, two other remarkable things happened:

  1. it turned 25 years of my experience as a civil engineering ‘upside-down’ and I started to view society and the engineer’s place within it, in a very different way;
  2. the kernel of an idea to form a new type of international development consultancy company (that subsequently became CCIBS) was created.

So, what will our blog be about? We will discuss current events and issues, things we find interesting, areas we are researching and reports from our field work and projects. These posts will be written by CCIBS staff and management, our advisory council members and guest/celebrity bloggers. We hope that our multi-disciplinary perspectives on development will shine through and that you will gain a different range of viewpoints. We are particularly excited about the recent initiatives in public-private partnerships occurring in the mining and oil/gas industries and the opportunities for development work implicit within the ‘social license to operate’. We will also be focusing on issues in Latin America and Africa, where we have a number of local expert associates.

…community cannot feed for long on itself; it can only flourish where always the boundaries are giving way to the coming of others from beyond them — unknown and undiscovered brothers.— Howard Thurman