Academics Stand Against Poverty
|Focus||Research, Policy, Advocacy, Poverty Eradication|
Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP) is an international network of scholars, teachers, and students working to mobilize the resources of academia to help alleviate poverty.
ASAP is currently engaged in a range of efforts aimed at leveraging the resources of academia toward poverty alleviation around the world. Its network has been described as a group that “lies between academia and activism. Like the latter, it aims primarily at persuading and motivating people to change their behavior. Like the former, it does so by moral and political argument, using the distinctive skills of academics.” ASAP’s mission is to help scholars, teachers, and students enhance their impact on poverty. It does so by promoting collaboration among poverty-focused academics, by helping them share research on poverty with public audiences, policy makers, and NGOs, and by helping academics use their expertise to achieve an impact on global poverty through intervention projects.
ASAP was founded by a group of nine academics in six countries with the mission of helping academics make a greater impact on global poverty. Those nine academics now comprise ASAP’s board of directors. The board developed the ASAP network by holding national launch conferences in the United States at Yale University, in the United Kingdom at the University of Birmingham, in Norway at the University of Oslo, and in India at the University of Delhi in 2011. In 2012, ASAP held a national launch conference in Canada at Ryerson University.
Board of Directors
The network is led by a board of academics from a range of disciplines, which oversees the network’s research and advocacy efforts.
- Ashok Acharya: associate professor in political science and joint director of the Developing Countries Research Centre, University of Delhi
- Luis Cabrera: reader in political theory at the University of Birmingham
- Paula Casal: ICREA Research Professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra
- Keith Horton: lecturer in philosophy at the University of Wollongong
- Matt Lindauer: Ph.D. student in philosophy at Yale University
- Thomas Pogge: Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs and director of the Global Justice Program at Yale University, research director of the Centre for the Study of the Mind in Nature at the University of Oslo, and president of Incentives for Global Health
- Mitu Sengupta: associate professor of politics and public administration at Ryerson University and director of research and development at the Centre for Development and Human Rights in Delhi
- Gilad Tanay: Ph.D. student of philosophy at Yale University
ASAP has secured funding from numerous sources, such as the British Council, CROP, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The United Kingdom launch conference was funded by CROP and the University of Birmingham School of Government and Society. Launch conferences held at the University of Oslo and University of Delhi were co-sponsored by CROP and the Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature. The launch conference held in Canada in October 2012 was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Office of the Vice President, Research and Innovation at Ryerson University and the Ryerson University Politics and Governance Students' Association.
A special issue of the Carnegie Council's Ethics & International Affairs focuses on ASAP’s potential, and the contribution academics in general might make toward poverty alleviation. In his article in the special issue, Martin Kirk, global campaigns director for The Rules, argues that the network has the potential to influence NGOs to adopt more effective and less paternalistic approaches to development and improve their engagement with the communities they serve. “A critical barrier to change within NGOs is the fact that existing approaches are locked into a single paradigm for what counts as required knowledge for communications and campaigns in their home markets. Thus, a group such as Academics Stand Against Poverty could be extremely influential by making the concerted case for change, and then assisting practically with authoritative guidance.”
Oxford political theorist Simon Caney argues that ASAP can have a significant impact on poverty because academics have a high level of expertise and, in certain disciplines, possess prestige and authority that extend beyond academia, and therefore have the ability to influence others to be active in the fight against global poverty. The contribution of academics to advocacy may include persuading privileged groups to change their behaviour, the development of research-based policy proposals, and driving change at a more abstract or general level, such as the conceptualisation of poverty. Academics can also provide research that people living in poverty and other vulnerable groups can use, empirically-grounded guidance to those who wish to donate to charities, and finally the provision of a “plausible normative framework for thinking about poverty.”
Onora O’Neill, Cambridge philosopher and member of the UK House of Lords, raises questions about the potential of academics to contribute to poverty eradication, noting that many do not have a sufficient level of expertise concerning poverty; she suggests “that it might be better to aim such advocacy not at academics but at the more indeterminate class of persons with expertise relevant to some aspect of poverty and development” (pg. 20). She also remarks that expertise concerning the causes of the persistence of poverty and effective remedies needs to be generated. Roger Riddell (Oxford Policy Management) notes the contributions academics can and have made, and he urges those in groups such as ASAP to be aware of past efforts and their failures as well as successes.
- ASAP (2012). Academic Stand Against Poverty Prospectus. ASAP.
- ASAP. "ASAP Canada Launch". Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- Global Justice Program. "Academic Stand Against Poverty". Retrieved 2012.
- ASAP. "About ASAP". Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- Horton, K (2012). History.
- O'Connor, J (2012). Turning thoughts into action: Do academic experts have special obligations to the poor?. The Philosophers' Magazine,.
- CSMN. "Workshop: Building Consensus on Global Poverty". Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- Horton, K (2012). "How Academics Can Help People Make Better Decisions Concerning Global Poverty". Ethics & International Affairs 26 (02): 265–278. doi:10.1017/s0892679412000329.
- CROP. "Academic Stand Against Poverty: Launch conference UK- Call for proposals". Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- Riddell, R.C. (2012). "Navigating Between Extremes: Academics Helping to Eradicate Global Poverty". Ethics & International Affairs 26 (02): 217–243. doi:10.1017/s0892679412000305.
- Kirk, M (2012). "Beyond Charity: Helping NGOs Lead a Transformative New Public Discourse on Global Poverty and Social Justice". Ethics & International Affairs 26 (02): 245–263. doi:10.1017/s0892679412000317.
- Carey, S (2012). "Addressing Poverty and Climate Change: The Varieties of Social Engagement". Ethics & International Affairs 26 (02): 191–216. doi:10.1017/s0892679412000299.
- O'Neil, O (2012). "Global Poverty and the Limits of Academic Expertise". Ethics & International Affairs 26 (02): 183–189. doi:10.1017/s0892679412000287.