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Our programmes

These are areas of knowledge around which we produce a variety of specialised publications and events

The Global South and China Programme

A great deal of our research capacity is focused on investigating the role of China and the global South. As such, we publish  our findings regularly in various outlets including books, blogs and some of the best journals around the world (see our publications page).

We also lead the way in research-based teaching at a number of institutions on courses that focus on China and the Global South. This includes courses at the LSE and Peking University (see our list of courses).

We also teach a post-graduate course at Sciences Po titled China’s Diplomacy and the Global South. In 2023, Dr. Alvaro Mendez will start a new undergraduate course at Fudan University in Shanghai focusing on the role of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on the global South.

The Global South and China Programme has four axes:

  1. Public: to contribute to global South governments' understanding of China's role in the ongoing global transformation.
  2. Private (Business): to liaison with global South businesses to improve their effectiveness in creating opportunities for sustainable relationships with China.
  3. Private (Civil society): to exchange information and build collaborative networks with civil society between the global South and China and elsewhere. 
  4. Academia: to produce cutting edge knowledge on China's engagement in the global South.

Sustainable Development Initiative

The Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI) is a research initiative that investigates the roles played by international organisations, multilateral development banks and commercial financial institutions in apportioning resources for sustainable development. It enquires how these actors have been internalising innovative norms into their practices based on the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria. This initiative brings together the expertise of academics, practitioners, policy makers, and business leaders with the aim of advancing the UN 2030 Agenda.

The research team at SDI has produced high-quality research for some of the foremost academic journals in the field as well as policy briefs and workshops designed to equip stakeholders with the theories and the evidence needed to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - see our publications page for full details. The programme runs in conjunction with LSE IDEAS.


Previous Programmes

Myanmar Programme




LSE Global South Unit and Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre present

Armed Groups, State and Society in Myanmar

Friday 13 October 2017 5:30pm to 7:00pm


  • David Brenner,
  • John Buchanan,
  • Patrick Meehan,
  • Martin Smith.  

Chair: Jürgen Haacke 

Myanmar’s borderlands have experienced armed conflict ever since the country’s independence in 1948. Attempts by successive military governments to secure control over these contested areas, and the willingness to deploy military force to achieve this ambition, have fuelled longstanding grievances against central state authority. 

Against this backdrop of decades-long ethno-national conflict, the country’s borderland regions have given birth to a dazzling array of non-state armed groups, including insurgencies, militias, vigilantes, and criminal networks.  They are part of a fragmented and multi-layered landscape of political order, which also includes semi-autonomous army commands, transnational business actors and other informal institutions. Based on years of extensive field work in the border areas of Myanmar, the speakers will discuss the dynamics of armed politics, social orders and state formation in light of the country's peace process and wider transition. 

This event is free and open to all, but pre-registration is required.

Please note that registration does not guarantee a seat, and ticket holders should therefore arrive in plenty of time to ensure that they get in the venue.  


22/23 April 2015


Myanmar’s “Borderlands”: Reforms, Conflict, Geopolitics

The conference was organized by Associate Professor Dr Jürgen Haacke, with much help from David Brenner, at PhD candidate in the IR Department (Dr. Brenner is now an associate fellow at the LSE Global South Unit).  

The conference brought together a host of long-time Burma/Myanmar scholars as well as a younger generation of researchers. The keynote was delivered by Professor David Steinberg, Distinguished Professor of Asian Studies Emeritus at Georgetown University. 


Wednesday 22 April 2015


Myanmar: politics, pragmatism, and foreign policy

Speaker: Professor David I. Steinberg. David I. Steinberg is a distinguished Emeritus Professor of Asian Studies at Georgetown University, and visiting scholar of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Although local and international attention are now naturally focused on the scheduled 2015 Myanmar elections, Professor David I. Steinberg explores longer term past governance trends in Myanmar, their interplay with the country’s international relations, and factors influencing such relations in the post-election period.

Time: 6.30 -8.00pm. Venue: Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House

CAF-LSE Conferences (2014-2018)

CAF-LSE Conferences


V CAF LSE Conference

Leadership, Resilience and Development in an Era of Instability

Date: Friday, 19 January 2018

Time: 9:00 – 4pm

Location: Shaw Library, 6th floor Old Building, LSE Campus

The Fifth Annual CAF-LSE conference, Leadership, Resilience and Development in an Era of Instability, marks the GSU’s continued collaboration with CAF–Development Bank of Latin America. The one-day conference saw over 200 attendees, including high-level government officials, academics, diplomats and students. This conference focused on the importance of leadership: How can leaders in the global south maintain stability and growth in turbulent times for the world?

Read the full programme here

You can find video recordings of the conference here

IV CAF LSE Conference

Globalisation in Crisis: Implications for the Global South

Date: Friday, 13 January 2017

Time: 9:00 – 8.30pm

Location: Shaw Library, 6th floor Old Building, LSE Campus

In a year marked by surprising changes such as the US presidential election and the UK’s decision to exit the European Union, renown academics and experts converged to share their long-term vision on the world from various perspectives, and analysed the consequences of Brexit, the rapprochement between China and Latin America, and the role of development banks, among other topics.

Read the full programme here

You can find video recordings of the conference here

III CAF LSE Conference:

Global Governance in an Era of Uncertainty  

Date: Friday, 15 January 2016   

Time: 9.00 - 18.15

Location: Shaw Library, 6th floor, Old Building, LSE Campus 

Keynote addresses:

  • Chris Alden, Director of the Global South Unit
  • Craig Calhoun, Director of the LSE
  • Enrique García, President of CAF

Speakers (in order of appearance):

  • Michel Camdessus, Former Managing Director of the IMF and Governor of the Bank of France
  • Enrique Iglesias, Former Secretary General of SEGIB, President of the Inter-AmericanDevelopment Bank, and Executive Secretary of ECLAC
  • Celso Amorim, Former Minister of Foreign Relations and Minister of Defense of Brazil
  • Prof. David Coen, LSE Director of the Institute of Global Governance
  • Khalid Malik, Former Director UN Human Development Programme UNDP
  • Jack Boorman, Former Director of the Policy Development and Review Department of the International Monetary Fund
  • Prof. Guillermo Perry, Profesor Universidad de los Andes and Former Minister of Finance of Colombia
  • Humayon Dar, CEO Edbiz Consulting London
  • Rajat Nag, Former Managing Director of the Asian Development Bank
  • Leonel Fernández, Former President of the Dominican Republic
  • Rajiv Biswas, Senior Director and Asia Pacific Chief Economist, IHS
  • Professor Ana Cristina Alves, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Professor Wu Guoping, Director General of the Center of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Southwest University of Science and Technology (SWUST), China
  • Prof. Fernando Cardoso, IMVF (Institute Marquês de Valle Flor)
  • Harinder Kohli, President Emerging Markets Forum
  • Guillermo Fernández de Soto, CAF’s Director Representative for Europe
  • João Carlos Ferraz, Director Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES)
  • Rebeca Grynspan, General Secretary of SEGIB.Rosario Green, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico
  • José Luis Machinea, Former Executive Secreary of ECLAC

Read the full programme here

You can find a summary of the conference here


II CAF LSE Conference:

Geopolitics and the Global South: Challenges of the Emerging Order  

Date: Friday 16 January 2015   9AM to 5.30PM

Location: Shaw Library, 6th floor Old Building

Opening Keynote Address: President Ricardo Lagos, former President of Chile (2000-2006) 

Closing Keynote Address: H.E. José María Aznar, Former President of the Government of Spain

Speakers (in order of appearance):

  • Chris Alden, Director of the Global South Unit
  • Stuart Corbridge, Deputy Director of the LSE
  • Enrique García, President of CAF
  • Ambassador H.H.S Viswanathan, Observer Research Foundation India.
  • Professor Zhongying Pang, Renmin University of China (RUC)
  • Professor Didier Opertti Badán, Former Foreign Minister of Uruguay
  • Dan Restrepo, Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western
  • Hemisphere Affairs, National Security Council
  • Professor Maxine Molyneux, Institute of the Americas, UCL
  • Jose Antonio Ocampo, director of the Economic and Political Development Concentration in the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Harinder Kohli, President Emerging Markets Forum
  • Jean-Louis Ekra, President and Chairman of the African Import-Export Bank
  • Professor Matias Spektor, Fundación Getulio Vargas and CAF-LSE Fellow 2014
  • Guillermo Fernandez de Soto, Director of CAF’s Office for Europe and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia.
  • Domitilla Sagramoso Lecturer in Security and Development, King's College
  • José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the OAS
  • Dino Mahtani, former correspondent FT and Reuters, former investigator for UN Security Council
  • Professor Christopher Hughes, Head of the International Relations Department, LSE

You can read the Conference Rapport here.

Please click here to see the full programme.

Please click here for the video recordings of the Opening, Session 1, Session 2, and Session 3

I CAF LSE Conference

First Annual CAF-LSE Global South Conference

The Rise of the Global South: Towards an Agenda for a New Century

Date: Friday 17 January 2014   9AM to 5.30PM
Shaw Library, 6th floor Old Building

Perhaps the most important development of the contemporary century is the emergence of the global South onto the stage of world politics.

This conference contributed to understanding the rise of the global South by focusing on key international actors from the regions, their perspective on global issues, the role of South-South cooperation as a development paradigm, and their current impact on a changing global environment. 

You can read the Conference Rapport here

You can find a video recording of the conference here