Prestigious International Conference on Human Development in Sofia


The annual conference of the Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA) will be held in Sofia. This is the first annual conference of the Association to be organized in a Central and Eastern European country. The theme of the conference is ” Vulnerability, human development and cooperative re-building in turbulent times”. The event will be held from September 11 to 13, 2023 at the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and more than 300 participants from 60 countries will take part in it.

The conference is jointly organized by the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (IFS-BAS), Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, “Open Society” Institute – Sofia (IOO-S), Trust for Social Alternative (TSA) and Sustainable Cooperation (SCOOP) from the Netherlands and supported by the Austrian Embassy in Sofia.

The Human Development and Capability Association (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. Among the founders of the association are the eminent American philosopher Martha Nussbaum and the Indian economist Amartya Sen, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998.

HDCA’s annual conferences aim to promote high-quality academic research, and intellectual debate and support collaboration between scholars and practitioners. This conference will feature in-depth academic research that has the potential to shape policy at both national and local levels.

The theme of the conference in Sofia was selected in the context of current social and environmental challenges, which include widening inequalities, the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and environmental disasters, growing insecurity, the war in Ukraine and other conflicts around the world.

Within the framework of the conference and its accompanying events, one of the leading philosophers of our time, Martha Nussbaum from the University of Chicago, will give a lecture on “War and types of pacifism” and present her new book “Justice for animals”.

Other keynote speakers during the conference will be:

  • Melanie Walker, Higher Education & Human Development, University of the Free State, South Africa: “Of History, Futures and a Repair Praxis in Knowledge and Education Spaces”
  • Branko Milanović,City University of New York, United States, Global Income Inequality: “Recent Changes and their Political Implications”
  • Subbu Subramanian, Independent Scholar; formerly Professor at Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, India: “Measurement Is Not Everything, But It Does Make A Difference”
  • Vassil Kirov, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology BAS, Bulgaria: “Digital Technologies for Inclusive Development?”
  • Gustaf Arrhenius, Institute for Futures Studies, Sweden: “The Democratic Boundary Problem and Economic Democracy”
  • Ursula Holtgrewe, Centre for Social Innovation, Austria: “Old and New Vulnerabilities at Work: Workplace Inclusion and Innovation on Whose Terms?”
  • Joost de Laat, Professor of Economics and Director, Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges, the Netherlands and Eugenia Volen
  • Program Director, Early Learning and Care, Trust for Social Achievement, Bulgaria: “Sustainable Development through Evidence-Based and Collaborative Policymaking: The Case of Removing Financial Barriers to Early Education in Bulgaria”

The annual conference will attempt to answer a number of questions, including:

  • How to conceptualize and measure vulnerability and human development in turbulent times at the micro and macro levels – national, regional and global?
  • How can the new challenges facing modern societies enhance or limit human development and social inequalities?
  • How to promote cooperation between different institutions and organizations in order to enhance development outcomes for all social groups, localities, nations, and regions?
  • How to develop capacities related to well-being and justice that respond to changes in work, family, knowledge production, political and social relations, environment, and non-human beings?

For more information:


Marin Lesenski, Program Director, European Policies, OSIS


Mobile: +359-887510641