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LIDC and The Guardian Debate on Volunteering: What did our Panellists and Audience Have to Say?

October 17, 2017

On Wednesday 11th October 2017 the fourth debate of the LIDC & The Guardian Development Debate Series took place discussing ‘Does Short-term Volunteering Abroad do More Harm than Good?’

The topic attracted much attention with the debate drawing a crowd of over 250 students, former volunteers, academics and development professionals eager to interrogate the panel.

Bibi Van Der Zee, Editor of the The Guardian Global Development Professionals Network chaired the discussion and the panel consisted of Tricia Barnett (Equality in Tourism and former Director at Tourism Concern ), Dr. Jim Butcher (Canterbury Christ Church University), Alex Kent (Restless Development), and Professor Andrew Jones (City University). Dr Jim Butcher is author of the book  ‘Volunteer Tourism: The Lifestyle Politics of International Development’ (Routledge, 2015), and has kindly provided a 20% discount voucher here.

The panel started by sharing their views on how to define short-term international volunteering in the context of international development. Illustrated by personal examples, the debate engaged with questions of whether volunteering is neo-colonial, global citizenship, and noted the importance of the different types of volunteering activities undertaken. The second part of the debate opened to audience questions, leading to a lively discussion with thought provoking questions.

A full recording of the debate can be found here:

The audience of over 250 students, academics and development professionals took to Twitter to share their thoughts. See what they had to say below:


Organized by the London International Development Centre and The Guardian the debate series aims to explore key issues in development, stimulate interesting discussions, and take an interdisciplinary approach to discussing global issues. Former debates in the series can be found here.

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