The theme for the 2019 Conference was ‘leadership for inclusive development’, a theme which
allowed us to engage in genuine contribution to cross-sectoral dialogue and a balanced inclusion of
contributions from academia, policy and practice.
The ‘leadership for inclusive development’ (#L4ID) theme explored both what leadership
is and what it does from diverse perspectives. We see leadership as having individual, collective and
society-wide dimensions, thus allowing personal and global perspectives to be addressed at the
The conference explored the leadership required ‘to leave no-one behind’, as referenced in the
Sustainable Development Goals. We explored how leadership can and does advance inclusion
and social change, as well as addressing not just the technical challenges of development but
also the power, political, social and cultural dimensions that impact experiences of inclusion or
At a time when populism, xenophobia and nationalism is on the rise, and climate change poses an
existential threat to humanity, understanding how each of us as individuals—and collectively—help
contest the ideas and processes that have given rise to these trends is critically important.
At the same time, we need to be building the processes and forms of international collaboration
and solidarity which model alternative ways of addressing the common problems we face and
ensure we are leaving no-one behind. These are all issues which have important leadership
dimensions, and in the face of global challenges, we can ask ourselves ‘is genuine leadership lacking
or is a new kind of leadership needed?’.
View the RDI Conference 2019 Program
RDI Conference 2019 convened an exciting line-up of speakers to offer diverse perspectives to our conference theme of ‘Leadership for Inclusive Development’. These voices will challenge and inspire you to re-think how you understand, support and participate in leadership for social change.