International Development Studies Program

Speakers Series & Lectures

IDS Speakers Series

IDS at Saint Mary’s has one of the longest-running development studies speakers series in the country. The Speakers Series provides a forum for students to discuss central development issues with invited guests from academia, NGOs, multilateral agencies, government, and the private sector. Graduate students are required to participate and undergraduate students are encouraged to attend. The series is generally held on Fridays throughout the academic year from 12-1:30 pm, with alternatives dates as necessary.


For a list of this year's speakers, see Speakers 2017-18



(Photo: United Nations)

Surendra J. Patel (1923-2006) was one of India's most distinguished economists. In his rich and varied career, he was senior advisor at the World Institute of Development Economics Research (WIDER), Visiting Professor at the Institute of Development Studies, a staff member of the UN-ECE, UN-ECA, and UNESCAP regional commissions, and was for many years Director of the Technology Division of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In his capacity as Director of UNCTAD-TD he was responsible for major initiatives such as the Code of Conduct on the International Transfer of Technology, the Revision of the Paris Convention, and Compensation for the Reverse Transfer of Technology. He was born and educated in India and was a prolific author, both alone and with colleagues, of important books on the technological transformation of the South. Dr. Patel joined the Saint Mary's University International Development Studies faculty as Distinguished Visiting Professor in the early 19990s, and was reappointed DVP a number of times as his relationship with SMU-IDS became closer through joint publications, teaching and research. Dr. Patel was also an Adjunct Faculty member of SMU-IDS up until his passing away in India in 2006.

Besides being a first-class researcher, a prolific author, and an excellent teacher, Dr. Patel will be remembered for his graciousness, dignity, and warmth. The International Development Studies Program at Saint Mary's University has sought to honour his memory with the Surendra Patel Memorial Lecture, presented each year by a distinguished person in the area of development studies. The first three lectures were given by Dr. Paul Bowles, Dr. Osvaldo Sunkel, and Dr. Norman Girvan, respectively. The 2012 Patel Memorial lecture was delivered by Dr. Manfred Bienfeld, Professor of Development Economics, Department of Public Administration, Carleton University. Details on the 2013 lecture will be posted soon!