Participation, Power and Progress: Community Development Towards 2030 – Our Analysis, Our Action

WCDC2018 povided a unique opportunity for practitioners, participants, academics, policy makers, funders and other stakeholders to share perspectives on current contexts and challenges for community work.

Over 400 people from all over the world came to Maynooth University in June to discuss, debate and learn about community development practice. Sunday June 24th saw 120 international delegates attend the Irish Induction event for those attending WCDC2018 from abroad and for the next three days there were joined by over 300 others.

The conference programme provided participants with an opportunity to participate in a choice of over 80 parallel sessions, book launches and poster presentations as well as 4 plenary sessions over the duration of the conference.

Key note speakers included;

  • Mary Robinson – Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, Former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Bernadette McAliskey, Former MP, South Tyrone Empowerment Programme, N. Ireland
  • Jim Ife, Academic and Analyst Australia
  • Anita Paul, Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation, India
  • Peter Westoby, Activist, Analyst and Academic, Australia
  • Francisco Cali Tzay, Guatemala
  • Yaser Alashqar, Academic, Palestine and Ireland
  • Kwok-kin Fung, Academic and Community Worker, Hong Kong
  • Rachel Doyle, Community Work Ireland
  • Suzanne Keating, Dochas Irish Association of Development Organisations
  • Lynne Segal Feminist, Academic and Community Activist

The conference could not have happened without the help of 20 amazing volunteers – students and recent graduates in community work and youth work at the Department of Applied Social Studies Maynooth University. Their

huge role in supporting and assisting conference delegates was invaluable as was their enthusiastic and creative contribution to the music and cultural events organised throughout the conference.

We were delighted that the Irish Rohingya Coalition were able to attend, launch and display their photographic exhibition in the Maynooth University library visited by both Mary Robinson and Minister Sean Kyne.


The feedback from the conference was overwhelmingly positive. Here’s what some of the attendees had to say:

  • “I took inspiration from listening to many”.
  • “I recognise the different challenges different communities face, in this conference Racism and inequalities were key in fighting poverty”.
  • “Community work is still at the core of development and informed policy-making”.
  • “Understanding some of the cross-cutting topics in the global development agenda: Immigration, global warming and conservation, gender and equality”.
  • “Generally, I was inspired by the high level of interest, passion and commitment expressed by the conference participants and these helped to increase my personal desire, commitment and support to improved community development wherever I find myself”.
  • “Inspiration from the lessons learnt on value of collaborations in promoting community work and also in hosting community development events”.
  • “Better awareness on global culture from people gathered from more than 43 countries”.
  • “This was a very enriching space. Thank you for all the effort in bringing us together for the WCDC. Thank you – well done”.