We live in a world that calls for engagement in social, political, cultural and economic issues which are increasingly complex. The world is asking: How do we move forward? How do we solve problems?

The first step in problem solving is understanding the issue, and placing it in the correct context. Increasingly, the context of development issues is moving from local and national, to global.

Financial flows and government debt. Imports and wage decline. Unemployment and outsourcing. Severe weather events and energy. These are just a few issues that are increasingly linked through global integration (globalization). As distance and time become compressed (the essence of globalization), this integration becomes ever more complex.

Yet complexity and unpredictability are not a dead-end in navigating a global world. The exploration of answers to ongoing and emerging problems is increasingly rooted in global trends.

It is this view of the world--that as the world seemingly increases in complexity, it can be understood through global trends--which allows for pragmatic (even imaginative) optimism.

And so, through research and effort, we set out to make a difference.

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Michael J. Starks
MA, Global & International Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Copyright, 2013 michaeljstarks.com
Michael working with the Turkana community in Peace Corps, Kenya