ABSTRACT

Sreedevi’s poem ‘Offering’ is both a dedication and a poignant opening to this publication. It evokes the sacrifice people make during catastrophic and unpredictable disasters to secure the survival of their loved ones and the sustainability of their communities. This poem was written by a grieving and traumatized young survivor from the ‘Boxing Day Tsunami’ of 26 December 2004 in South India. Sixteen months later, in the midst of a snowy winter in southern New Zealand, Jubliee Rajiah recited Sreedevi’s poem to delegates at the 40th University of Otago Foreign Policy School.1 This book emanates from

this meeting that focused on Human Security and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These once confident goals were contested especially when several speakers brought gender to the fore. Conventional concepts of security were also disrupted with attention to gendered violence, as well as a broader and more inclusive rendering of human development, considering, for example, food, environmental, economic and reproductive security. The Otago Foreign Policy School was a microcosm of divergent perspectives on the MDGs being voiced by 2005. These ranged from official governmental endorsement, outlined here in Phil Goff’s (New Zealand’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade)2 and María Angélica Arce Mora’s (then Mexico’s Ambassador to New Zealand) chapters, to the critiques and increasing disillusionment of the project by expressed by academics, non governmental workers and others. The later inclusion of other contributors is indicative of the mounting divergence over the rationale and feasibility of the MDGs. The result is this collection that considers development in an insecure and gendered world.