Annual HDCA 2023 Conference

The annual conference of the Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA) will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria from 11-13 September 2023. The conference is co-organized and hosted by Open Society Institute – Sofia (OSIS), the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (IPS-BAS), the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Trust for Social Achievement (TSA), and Sustainable Cooperation (SCOOP). This will be the first such event to be held in the region of Central and Eastern Europe.

HDCA is a global community of academics and practitioners focused on people-centred development and the capability approach. The mission of the association is to promote both research and policy in the area of human development and well-being. The HDCA consists of members from many disciplines and professions, including economics, philosophy, development studies, health, education, law, government, and sociology, among others.

The annual HDCA conferences, which gather over 300 participants, aim to promote high-quality, policy-oriented academic research, advance intellectual debates and promote collaboration between academics and practitioners. It is hoped that the rigorous academic studies presented during this conference will contribute to policy-making, not only at the central government level, but also at the local level. These conferences are open to scholars, policy-makers, practitioners, and students who are developing and actively applying the human development paradigm. Disciplines include, but are not limited to, economics, philosophy, political science and development studies. While the papers presented at the conference may come from any discipline and may be theoretical, applied, or policy-based, every paper must engage in some form the capability approach and/or the human development paradigm.

The annual HDCA 2023 conference in Sofia is entitled “Vulnerability, human development and cooperative re-building in turbulent times”. The rationale behind the focus of the event is that these are in turbulent times, times characterized by dynamic, deepening inequalities both between and within societies, as well as increased levels of insecurity and vulnerability. The Covid 19 pandemic, climate change, ecological disasters, famine war in Ukraine and many other conflicts around the world, have deepened these trends. The consequences are evident in human and non-human life posing multilayered obstacles to human development.  Between 2020 and 2021, the human development index contracted for all countries. Applying the capability approach can encourage studying who benefits and who loses from recent societal developments. How is development as freedom as outlined by Amartya Sen, possible under these circumstances? Are there capabilities that can promote prosperity, hope and re-imagined futures in our contemporary world? These are the key questions the conference will address.

The keynote speakers include Martha C. Nussbaum, University of Chicago, USA, Melanie Walker, , University of the Free State, South Africa, Branko Milanović, City University of New York, USA, Subbu Subramanian, formerly Professor: Madras Institute of Development Studies, India, Vassil Kirov, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, BAS, Bulgaria, Gustaf Arrhenius, Institute for Futures Studies, Sweden, Ursula Holtgrewe, Centre for Social Innovation, Austria, Joost de Laat, Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges, the Netherlands, Eugenia Volen, Program Director, Trust for Social Achievement, Bulgaria.


Marin Lessenski, Program Director, European Policies, OSIS


Information about the conference at the HDCA website (in English)

Information about the conference at the IPS – BAS website (in Bulgarian)