Wellbeing Research Centre (WRC)
Promoting wellbeing on the individual, community and global levels.
The Wellbeing Research Centre has the vision to contribute to the dissemination of knowledge on wellbeing, which involves the notions of happiness and life satisfaction, on the individual, community and global levels.
Founded by Professor Emeritus Parviz Dabir-Alai in 2013-2014, the WRC operates under the premises of Richmond Business School and seeks to serve as a platform through which knowledge on wellbeing can be shared and discussed among faculty and students across Richmond American University London’s schools and disciplines.
The WRC has the following functions:
- Promote discussion and research activities relating to wellbeing within and beyond the boundaries of the University
- Organise a flagship annual workshop or conference involving faculty, students and external speakers
- Organise other discussion opportunities (seminars, lectures, etc.) with a narrower focus on a wellbeing-related topic
The WRC is chaired by Dr. Theano Lianidou, Associate Professor of Management.
Other members include:
- Dr. Paul Fisher, Visiting Professor of Finance and Economics
- Peter Grant, Visiting Professor of International Economics and Development
- Dr. Nicola Mann, Professor of Communications and Visual Cultures, Head of Department of Communication
- Dr. David M Munyinyi, Associate Professor of Mathematics
- Prof. Sabine Spangenberg, Professor of Economics, Deputy Provost for Faculty
Wellbeing Research Centre member profiles
Recent Research by WRC members
- Dabir-Alai, P., Arvin, M. and Pradhan, R. P., ‘Is there a link between undernourishment, political climate and other socio-economic variables? Evidence from low-income countries’, Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences, 2022.
- Arvin, M., Pradhan, R. P., Nair, M. and Dabir-Alai, P., ‘Exploring the Temporal Links between Foreign Aid, Institutional Quality, and CO2 Emissions for Poorer Countries’, Energy & Buildings, 2022.
- Theano Lianidou and Wei Zheng, ‘Leader diffuse status and leadership outcomes: toward an integrative framework’, International Journal of Management Reviews, 2022.
- Theano Lianidou, Ashey Lytle and Maria Kakarika, ‘Deep-level dissimilarity and leader–member exchange (LMX) quality: the role of status’, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Volume 37, No. 4, 2022
- Maria Kakarika, Theano Lianidou, Yuanmei (Elly) Qu and Michelle C. Bligh, ‘Organizational behaviour in the COVID-19 context: effects of supervisor directed deviance on retaliation against subordinates’, British Journal of Management, Volume 33, No. 1, 2022
- Sabine Spangenberg and David M. Munyinyi, ‘Construction of a social welfare function under consideration of conditional self-interest’, International Journal of Happiness & Development, Volume 6, No. 3, 2021.
- Theano Lianidou, ‘The role of status and power inequalities in leader-member exchange’, Leadership, Volume 17, No. 6, 2021.
- Bonham-Carter, C. and Mann, N. eds., Rhetoric, Social Value and the Arts. London: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2017
- Parviz Dabir-Alai and Ana Oliveira, ‘Adding value by degree: a case study’, International Journal of Education Economics and Development, Volume 8, No. 1, 2017.
- Parviz Dabir-Alai and Abbas Valadkhani, ‘Foreign aid, economic outcomes, and happiness’, International Journal of Happiness & Development, Volume 3, No. 2, 2016.
- Sabine Spangenberg, ‘In Search of Value: Early Civilisation and Some Athenian Thought’, International Journal of Happiness & Development, Volume 3, No. 2, 2016.
21 April 2023
On 21 April, the WRC hosted a talk by Ms. Müge Dolun on the transition from a linear to a circular economy.
Müge Dolun is a development economist with over 20 years of experience in strategic research, technical assistance projects and programme evaluation. Since mid-2021, she has been working at UNIDOs Division of Circular Economy and Environmental Protection as an Industrial Development Officer, managing a large portfolio of projects on circular economy. Immediately prior to taking up duties at the Environment Division, she served as the ad-interim Gender Coordinator at the UNIDO Office for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In her previous roles, she has managed technical assistance projects in trade and standards, as well as agri-business development and conducted independent corporate and project evaluations. Ms. Dolun is a development economist by training, with a Master in Public Administration in International Development degree from Harvard Kennedy School and a BA in Environmental Studies and Certificate in Economics from Richmond American University London.
Ms. Dolun started her talk with the following definition of circular economy:
“Circular economy is a production and consumption model that routes materials, parts and products back into use several times and creates more value and less waste. In contract to today’s largely linear, ‘take-make-use-dispose’ economy, it is an alternative model, in which value is maintained for as long as possible, products are designed to last, and the generation of waste is minimised.”
She then explained the circular economy’s economic, environmental and social benefits and provided several examples of circular economy initiatives.
17 March 2023
On 17 March, the WRC hosted a talk on financial inclusion of refugees in Jordan by Mr. Peter Grant, Visiting Professor of International Economics and Development.
Peter Grant has 30 years of experience in Government, NGOs and the private sector as a manager and leader. As International Director in DFID, he was responsible for the development aspects of the UK’s multilateral partnerships, including the World Bank, EU and UN, and for DFID’s trade, conflict and humanitarian work. Mr. Grant has also served as International Director of Tearfund, responsible for worldwide work with partners and a disaster response team with over 1000 staff, and cofounded Restored, an organisation that envisions a world where women live free from the fear of violence. He currently serves as a Senior Fellow at Agulhas Applied Knowledge, a leading provider of evaluation, learning, and knowledge to improve strategy.
Mr. Grant started his talk with an overview of the financial challenges Jordan’s three million refugees face. He then focused on an extensive research project conducted to offer a more granular understanding of these issues and potential solutions. Some of the recommendations made were to develop a national vision of financial inclusion, change the policies preventing certain refugee groups from phone-banking access, simplify the registration process (fewer forms to complete), etc.
21 October 2022
Theano Lianidou presented her article, ‘Leader Diffuse Status and Leadership Outcomes: Toward an Integrative Framework’, which has recently been published in the International Journal of Management Reviews.
This review seeks to enrich our understanding of how a leader’s status influences leadership outcomes such as motivation to lead, leader emergence and perceived leader effectiveness. The focus is on the leader’s diffuse status, i.e., status derived from demographic (e.g., gender and race) and physical (e.g., height and body shape) characteristics. Drawing insights from empirical findings and their theoretical underpinnings, we (1) highlight the need to explicitly model the leader’s diffuse status as a mediator in the relationship between leader demographic and physical characteristics and leadership outcomes, (2) differentiate the effects of the leader’s diffuse status as perceived by others (interpersonal level) and the leader’s diffuse status as perceived by the leader (intrapersonal level) and (3) synthesise a wide range of contextual factors that influence the degree to which the leader’s demographic and physical characteristics affect leadership outcomes through the leader’s diffuse status. Moreover, we explain how other status types, such as status derived from the leader’s position in the organisational hierarchy and status related to task-relevant leader characteristics, can moderate the effects of the leader’s diffuse status. Finally, we discuss the utility of our proposed integrative framework for researchers and practitioners and outline promising future research opportunities.
9 June 2022
10:00 am UK time – Seminar on the theme of Sustainability
This seminar focused on how sustainability is now not only an intrinsic part of strategic management in fields as diverse as banking and mining but also how it is being reflected in academic teaching in business schools. We were pleased to have 3 excellent speakers as follows to discuss some of these issues:
* Caroline Haas – Caroline serves as Managing Director and Head of Climate and ESG Capital Markets working closely with origination teams – both in the public markets and private finance arena – focusing on a holistic approach to sustainability, working with clients across products and markets, as well as providing ESG rating, regulatory and disclosure insights. In addition to the financing dialogue, Caroline engages with institutional investors globally to understand their ESG objectives and develop new products to meet their needs. Caroline will talk about sustainability in the financial industry.
‘The financial industry has been called to arms to support the globe achieve net zero through its financing, underwriting and investing activities. However, it will be vital that this is a Just Transition. The talk addressed the tools, progress and challenges‘.
* Michèle Bruhlat – Executive Director – The Copper Mark. With over 10 years of experience working on the design, implementation and independent assessment of sustainability standards, Michèle has evaluated and assisted companies at every level of the supply chain—from raw material to end product—and across multiple materials. She was previously the Director of Innovations at the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) and served as the Head of Auditing at RCS Global for several years. Prior to her work at RCS Global, she held roles focused on responsible sourcing at Underwriters Laboratories, the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and STR Responsible Sourcing.
* Marios Konstantinidis who is currently Associate Professor in Management at Richmond University has worked for a period of 25 years in banking and finance specializing in asset management and commercial banking. Since 2015, Marios has joined a number of Universities in Europe and the UK, delivering business courses in Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Corporate Finance, and Strategy. In addition, he also serves as a strategic and financial management consultant undertaking project work with firms operating in emerging economy environments.
‘The purpose of this presentation was to address the relationship between sustainability and education, by exploring the implementation of teaching the SDGs, the challenges and opportunities of integrating sustainability in University curricula, and the necessary pedagogies needed to achieve University students’ sustainability awareness and competencies’
Whilst this event was hosted by the WRC we were pleased to let colleagues know that it marked the foundation of a new institute at the School, the Institute of Corporate Sustainability which aims to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the area of sustainability and deepen links with the businesses community in sustainability issues.
20 May 2022
On the above date Nicola Mann delivered a lecture with the following details: “Trouble at t’Mill: The Highs and Lows of Community Engagement in Reading”.
The title of this talk takes its inspiration from the subject line of an email circulated amongst participants in the Arts Council England-funded community-engagement project, Revealing Reading’s Hidden Histories (RRHH). During the Spring of 2016, over thirty members of the town attended meetings in order to explore Reading’s heritage, to demonstrate reasons to be positive about their district and to challenge negative perceptions. Six years on, this talk reflects on my experience of heading-up the Oxford Road group of RRHH project, an area notorious for its regular appearance on the cult reality show Brit Cops Wars on Crime. As the subject of the email suggests, revealing the hidden histories of the Oxford Road was rewarding and frustrating in equal measure. This talk describes the highs and lows of community engagement in Reading – heated meetings, unlikely friendships, and the uncovering of photographic gems.
Nicola’s talk was the last in the series for academic year 2021-22.
At the WRC we’d like to thank all of our speakers and audience members for making these sessions lively and a place to express ideas freely and in the spirit of genuine inquiry.
13 May 2022
2:00 pm – Talk by Professor Eric Golson
On the above date Eric Golson delivered a lecture with the following details. The audience was enthralled by both the topic and the delivery. ‘Perspectives on the Social Costs of Modern Warfare’.
In light of the Ukraine crisis, Professor Golson will explore the economics of warfare as it relates to the current conflict in Eastern Europe. The conflict in Ukraine follows on a pattern first seen in Syria where the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure is designed to raise the social and political costs. In order to bring about a conclusion to the conflict and a long-term sustainable peace we need to better understand these costs and how best to offset them for the long-run.
8 April 2022
2:00 pm – Talk by Dr Ivan Cohen
On the above date Ivan Cohen offered a talk with the following details. Plenty of questions ensured the talk remained lively to the very end.
A consideration of the importance of pensions — both occupational and state pensions — to the state of wellbeing in the United Kingdom. As well as considering the direct impact on wellbeing, the indirect impact via pension fund investment in capital markets will also be considered.
18 March 2022
2:00 pm – Talk by Professor Inma Ramos
On the above date Inma delivered a well-received talk with the following details and brief description. The session was Chaired by Parviz Dabir-Alai.
‘Passing or failing the sustainability test? A critical stakeholder perspective’
Sustainability is currently set as a top priority within the agendas of senior management and boards within the corporate world. Large MNEs publish Sustainability or Impact Reports to satisfy their shareholders and SMEs need to follow suit if they want to be included in larger companies’ preferred suppliers list. A combination of self and third-party certification together with the variety of metrics makes sustainability comparison a challenging task. This talk aims to provide a template for stakeholders to critically evaluate corporate sustainability reporting.
25 March 2022
2:00 pm – Talk by Professor Nick Wilkinson
On the above date Nick Wilkinson spoke to the matter noted below. Session was Chaired by Sabine Spangenberg.
This talk aims to explain how the discipline of behavioural economics can aid an understanding of public health policy during Covid-19, and in particular examine two major questions:
- Why was such a blatantly false official narrative propagated on a universal basis throughout the globe?
- Why did people believe it?
We will conclude that mainstream economics can lend some insight into these issues, but it is only by accounting for the psychological biases examined in behavioural economics that we can gain a full understanding of the narrative, the policy errors that have flowed from it, and public attitudes regarding the narrative over the last two years.
19 November 2021
1:00 pm – Talk by Professor Carola Hieker
On the above date Carola delivered the 4th of our talks as part of the 2021-2022 WRC/School of Business lecture series. This session was Chaired by Inma Ramos. The topic, and a short description of what Carola discussed appear below.
‘The Future of Leadership Development. Disruption and the Impact of Megatrends’
Leadership development aims to disrupt leaders’ behaviour and thought patterns. However, for many decades leadership development has not changed significantly: nobody seems to be disrupting the disrupters.
Based on her industry expertise and on interviews with HR professionals Carola reflected on the future of leadership development and what is missing in traditional approaches. She gave some practical recommendations for how leadership development needs to change to support leaders as they navigate a volatile and uncertain world.
This talk is based on the Carola’s and John Pringles’s research which is published in their book ‘The Future of Leadership Development’ published with Palgrave in November 2020.
22 October 2021
We had an audience full of questions and comment for the 3rd of our talks as part of the 2021-2022 WRC/School of Business lecture series. Sabine Spangenberg and David Munyinyi presented their paper entitled:
‘Construction of a Social Welfare Function under Consideration of Conditional Self-Interest’
Abstract is below:
Welfare functions have largely been constructed on the assumption that individuals’ utilities can be aggregated into collective utility. The speakers will present an alternative approach providing implications for the definition of social values and the understanding of welfare.
From a philosophical approach they will argue that conditional self-interest in the form of consideration of moral sense and benevolence can inform on the limitations of common welfare assumptions. They will be demonstrated by introducing a relationship between three entities: Society, You and Me. The analysis of this model (welfare function) will show that consideration for others and constrained self-interest will act to enhance societal benefit.
8 October 2022
‘Greening the Central Bank Balance Sheet – or Not?’
Should central banks be favouring green assets in their large-scale asset purchase programmes? This question has caused an intense debate in the Euro area, and to a lesser extent the UK, focussed on the corporate bond purchases made by the European System of Central Banks and the Bank of England (BoE) (BIS, 2019; Cochrane, 2020; and Banque de France, 2021). One thing is agreed – the current bond portfolios of both institutions support economic activity that is not currently consistent with the stated targets of both countries to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (BoE, 2020; Ilzetzki and Jia, 2020, citing Hassler et al, 2020).
The conflicting answers seems obvious and clear to each side in the debate. To summarise some complicated arguments briefly, there are those who believe that sustainability issues are not within the mandate or competency of the central bank and that the independence that is essential for monetary policy would be damaged by central banks exceeding their remit. On the other side, there are those who believe that sustainability issues are covered by existing mandates – at least as part of secondary objectives; that central banks, like all other institutions, can and must embrace sustainability issues if society is to deal with an existential threat and that action can be taken which does not impact on monetary policy. Both sides have good arguments to make which we explore in this paper.
The debate, however, has become centred around whether corporate bond purchases should be ‘tilted’ in favour of ‘green’ assets, somehow defined, and away from ‘brown’ assets. In this paper we argue that the debate over corporate bond purchases is largely inconsequential for both sides of the argument and has become a distraction from the broader balance sheet management issues that need to be addressed by central banks going forwards.
Given the wider set of issues we present, the arguments for and against ‘greening’ the central bank balance sheet need to be carefully weighed on both sides. For example, buying large quantities of green assets could actually have perverse consequences for nascent green markets. On the other hand, a refusal to engage on climate change could be the more damaging for long-run independence if it led to a re-consideration of legal mandates.
17 September 2021
“‘Working with students as partners’ with faculty, staff and students”
Abstract is below:
Student-staff partnerships have achieved significant attention within higher education both in the UK and overseas. This approach is based on the premise that knowledge can be created with faculty involving students, thus giving students opportunities to step out of their traditional role of passive learners. With growing evidence of such partnership leading to enhanced students’ experience and learning, this presentation will highlight the origin, scope, and challenges of working with students as partners.
22 April 2022
2:30pm – Talk by Professor Mark Allen
It was indeed a pleasure to welcome back Visiting Professor Mr Mark Allen* to the University in celebration of the publication of his novel, Life Term. The book was published in March 2021 by Colenso Books. During this event Mark talked about his journey as an author and read sections of his book.
Further details on the book appear below:
‘Life Term is a psychological thriller about a six-year-old boy who is sexually assaulted by a man on a riverbank. Many years later, whilst working as a psychiatric nurse, he seeks his revenge. However, despite a successful subsequent career in journalism and publishing, the shame and guilt lives with him until there is some resolution. On one level, Life Term is a page turner, which tells an absorbing story with twists and turns till the end. On another, it is about crime and punishment, revenge and redemption and about the borderline between good and evil.’
*Mark Allen is Executive Chairman of the Mark Allen Group, one of the most successful, if not the most successful, family-owned publishing companies in the UK.
16 February 2021
‘What is the UK doing to tackle modern slavery?’
In this talk Peter outlined the conclusions of a major review he led recently of the UK’s work to reduce modern slavery thorough its international aid programme. As well as reflecting on the content of his report, which you can read here.
Peter drew on examples and case studies drawn from visits undertaken for the review to Nigeria and Bangladesh. At the end of his talk Peter invited questions and also discussed the differing roles of governments, businesses and private citizens in ending the horrific abuses of modern slavery.
18 November 2020
‘Central bank responses to Covid-19’
10:30am – Talk by Professor Paul Fisher
Many central banks have been active with policies since the onslaught of Covid-19 caused macroeconomic mayhem. As usual, different countries have put different measures in place. But what can central banks really do and what are they hoping to achieve? Paul will set out the policy options that central banks have, how that menu is being drawn on to address the pandemic and what they might hope to achieve.
Professor Fisher spoke for about 40 minutes took a variety of questions from an enthusuastic audience.
2 June 2020
‘The migration and refugee crisis’
Our 2020 flagship event features 3 papers tackling a range of topics to do with displacement of people. Migration and the refugee crisis have become critical themes for the 21st century and this seminar intends to explore some of the complexities and the responses to them.
The event is structured as follows:
- 1000 Arrival and coffee
- 1030 Opening comments – Sabine Spangenberg
- 1035 “Displaced people and the politics of fear – Gendered and Racialised processes of Othering“, Dr Maja Korac (University of East London) – Chair: Nicola Mann.
- 1120 “How well are Syrian refugees being treated in Jordan and Lebanon?”, Professor Peter Grant (Agulhas Applied Knowledge) – Chair: David Munyinyi.
- 1205 Break
- 1215 “Syrian Refugees, the Labour Market and the Migration Dynamics of Natives – Evidence from Jordan“, Professor Jackie Wahba (University of Southampton) – Chair: Nastaran Norouzi.
- 1300 Thanks and closing comments – Adrian Wilkins.
This event will be held at the Kensington campus of the University and all are welcome.
(programme subject to change, for any updates contact email@example.com)
19th February 2020
‘Experiments in Economics’
At 1:30 pm on 19th February the WRC welcomed Ana Correa to offer an informal talk on the topic of ‘Experimental economics‘. Here she is in full flow and with some of the members of her audience.
Ana described her talk as follows:
“When a scientist wants to test a hypothesis, they conduct an experiment. Economists cannot conduct experiments with people and their resources. How do they test their hypotheses? In this talk, I will present a variety of methods that economists use to test hypotheses, to find causes of economic changes, and to evaluate policies.”
Ana, a Richmond University alumni, is completing her Ph.D. at University College, London. In her talk she covered the 4 main approaches used by researchers engaged with empirical work within the field of development economics, including natural experiments and RCTs.
The venue for this event was Seminar 1 @ 17 Young Street on the Kensington campus.
On June 6th the WRC held a seminar on ‘successful entrepreneurship’. The seminar explored a variety of issues all predicated on the understanding that entrepreneurs are the ones that provide the economy with its engine for innovation and growth. So, the seminar explored the following questions, plus many others:
Can we assume that successful entrepreneurship is a prerequisite for an economy that has innovated and grown? If so, can we teach entrepreneurship and can entrepreneurship be seen as a formula for success? What do successful entrepreneurs have to say on this? Can we learn from their experience?
To address these points, and others relevant to them, a small group of talented academics, entrepreneurs and practitioners gathered to discuss with an attentive and enthusiastic audience.
The session commenced at 09:50 within the Upper Dining Hall / Atlantic House / Kensington campus, with a welcome from Professor Lawrence Abeln, the University’s President.
Each presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session lasting around 20 minutes (some of the presentations were supported with slides, see links below).
09:50 – 10:00 Professor Lawrence Abeln – Introductions and welcome
President Abeln opened the seminar with a warm welcome and brief introduction of our first speaker, Mr Mark Allen.
10:00 – 10:30 Mr Mark Allen, ‘‘An entrepreneur’s journey‘ (session Chair: Parviz Dabir-Alai)
Mark is Founder and Chairman of the Mark Allen Group of companies, which he founded in 1985, having initially bought two medical magazines in a management buyout. Today the group has more than 70 brands in different sectors – healthcare, education, B2B, music and leisure – and is actively involved in exhibitions and conferences.
Mark is a Visiting Professor and Trustee at Richmond University. He is also an ‘ambassador’ for the homeless charity, Alabaré.
10:50 – 11:20 Mr Hamad Khan,‘Teaching Entrepreneurship‘ (session Chair: David Munyinyi)
Hamad is an Associate Professor of Marketing & Entrepreneurship at Richmond University. Before joining UK Hamad was in the Marketing Communications sector for 14 years and worked at JWT, Lowe, McCann Ericsson and then the client side Mashreq Bank in Dubai.
He joined Richmond University in September 2013 and since then has taught courses in Advertising, Sales and Entrepreneurship at UG and MBA Level.
11:40 – 11:45 Coffee break
11:45 – 12:15 Mr Michael Mueller, ‘The challenges of entrepreneurial growth‘ (session Chair: Sabine Spangenberg)
Michael is CEO of Form3. He set up Form3 after spending more than 25 years in management positions with Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays. Most recently, he was Global Head of Cash Management and a Member of the Corporate Banking Executive at Barclays, where he had responsibility for the product management and distribution of the bank’s payment, corporate deposit and customer access products.
For many years Michael has been passionate about driving digital change and innovation in global banks and has sponsored many key initiatives in this area, including white-labelling, biometric security, mobile payments (Pingit) and portal and mobile banking technology. More recently he has been actively involved in industry-level discussions about central bank digital currencies and the application of distributed ledger technology in financial services. Michael holds a degree in Organizational Psychology and a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD.
12:35 – 13:05 Ms Nastaran Norouzi, ‘Bored of masstige? Are we running out of ideas for luxury products?’(session Chair: Nicola Mann)
Nastaran is Associate Professor of Marketing and Programme Director of MA Luxury Brand Management at Richmond’s Business School. Her first degree is in Computer and Electronic Engineering. She holds an executive MBA degree gained from International Business School, University Technology of Malaysia (UTM), with a concentration in Strategic Management.
Additionally, Nastaran has more than ten years of management practice with local and international experience, specifically in Computer, Telecom, Creative and textile Industries. Nastaran’s broader research interests include subjects such as Labour, wages and working conditions in Clusters, Inter-firm relations and collaboration in Clusters and, the relationship between creative industries and Cluster survival and dynamics. Nastaran’s research interests also include fashion and luxury marketing.
Session closed at just after 13:00 (closing remarks: Adrian Wilkins)
‘Central Banks and their balance sheets (in the light of QE)’
On October 10th the WRC was delighted to welcome back Professor Paul Fisher, a recent member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, to discuss the latest thinking on the challenges involved in withdrawing QE in the light of regulatory and fiscal requirements. In discussing these issues Professor Fisher focused on the UK and other experiences. The presentation was accompanied by a series of PowerPoint slides which may be found under ‘The future of balance sheets.’
The audience of students and faculty engaged Professor Fisher in discussions during the session and more informally afterwards.
Professor Fisher has offered to return in 2019 and talk about several aspects of the world’s commodity markets.
‘State engagement – assessing capacity’ A seminar on Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA)
On Wednesday May 17th, the WRC held a well attended seminar with the above theme. The presenters were drawn from a diverse group of practitioners, consultants and academics. Collectively their aim was to explain what is normally understood by state engagement and our ability to assess its impact and influence.
The 5 papers explored a variety of interlinked themes such as: why the traditional approach to capacity building has been discredited, and what has replaced it; examples of the application of PDIA in different developing countries by drawing on both experience and literature; the role of Outcome Mapping (OM), as developed by the International Development Research Centre, to help make sense of how policy may be influenced. The use of OM was seen within the context of the ODI’s Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) programme. Another paper attempted to make sense of the Cambiemos government in Argentina through the lens of the PDIA; the final paper focused on assessing the value of the PDIA approach in assessing the adoption of conditional cash transfers in Turkey.
The seminar was aimed at those interested in advocacy, evaluation and policy influence from a variety of perspectives as outlined above. Seminar room 106 at Briggs Hall was packed with a lively audience made up of the 5 speakers, several faculty, one visiting scholar and a number of students.
The program for the seminar had the following structure:
0930-1000 Registration, Introductions and Welcome
1000-1025 Keynote paper by Dr. Marcus Cox (Agulhas, Applied Knowledge)
Bringing Politics into Technical Assistance – How far have we come
1030-1055 Peter Grant (Agulhas, Applied Knowledge/Restored/Richmond University Visiting Professor)
Putting PDIA into practice – lessons from country case studies
1055-1120 Discussion (and coffee)
1125-1150 Simon Hearn (Overseas Development Institute)
Outcome Mapping for planning and monitoring policy engagement and influence
1155-1220 Dr. Christopher Wylde (Richmond University)
“Making sense of the Cambiemos government in Argentina through PDIA?”
1225-1250 Dr. Gokce Baykal (King’s College)
“Testing PDIA Approach – Principles towards Adoption of Conditional Cash Transfers in Turkey”
1250-1315 Discussion and close of seminar
‘Positive Women – Heartache, hope and living with HIV’
On Monday April 16th, at 1030 am, at the Lecture Hall within 17 Young Street, there was a showing of a short documentary film of ‘Positive Women …’.
The film offered a glimpse into the lives of 6 women living within the Nakulabye slum which is within a mile of the central business districts of Kampala, Uganda. The documentary captured the reality of the poverty and helplessness and the mistreatment endured by the women and their families. The women were all mothers to several children each and all were HIV positive; yet their stories were full of hope and aspiration.
Those in attendance at the showing were left in a state of awe and tremendous respect for the women portrayed within the documentary. The documentary’s associate producer, Anne Lotter, who is a Richmond professor, was at hand to offer context and answer questions from the audience of students, staff and faculty.
Thanks to Anne Lotter for sharing this.
14 May 2018
‘BREXIT is coming … 12 months to go’
Bad news has a habit of arriving with relentless frequency. Is BREXIT, and all that goes with it, an example of bad news? Some would say the UK is heading for a cliff-edge type disaster of unprecedented magnitude; others maintain that the future could not be brighter and that all will be well. Can the issues be put as starkly as this, or can we find some compromises that will keep all happy and content with the onrushing future that awaits us? Hard information on the UK’s position is difficult to come by but the government has promised to come clean soon.
In order to explore some of the above issues the Wellbeing Research Centre organised a thematic Panel Discussion which started at 16:45 on March 14th 2018, on the University’s Kensington campus (Upper Dining Hall/Atlantic House). The session wasbe introduced by Dr. Dabir-Alai and chaired by Professor Spangenberg.
Speakers and their themes:
- “Financial Consequences: The Impact of BREXIT on The City” – Dr. Ivan Cohen (Richmond University)
Under this heading Dr Cohen explored some of the likely scenarios that could emerge post-March 2019 and offer an assessment of their consequences.
- “Should I stay or should I go? – An insight into the dilemmas that UK businesses face” – Professor Inma Ramos (Richmond University)
Professor Ramos explored and commented on some of the opportunities available to UK businesses faced with the decision to either maintain their operations within the UK or to relocate to mainland EU.
- “BREXIT and the Arts: The importance of a Creative Society” – Professor Charlotte Bonham-Carter
(Central Saint Martins)
Professor Bonham-Carter maintains that the arts are aligned to tolerance, liberal values and increasingly, to wellbeing. The impact of BREXIT on the cultural life of the UK will undoubtedly be profound. This presentation looked at the impact of BREXIT on the arts, but also, the possible impact of the arts on BREXIT.
This event had standing room only!
31 January 2018
Recent activity by Dr Paul Fisher:
In January 2018, at the Centre, we were pleased to acknowledge Dr Paul Fisher’s significant involvement as a member of the European Commission High-Level Experts Group on Sustainable Finance.
The full Report may be accessed here.
Dr Fisher, who is both a Visiting Professor at Richmond University (in Economics and Finance) and a member of its Wellbeing Research Centre, was interviewed by the Financial Times on the above Report. That interview appears here (kindly note that you will need to set up an account with the FT to review this link).
The press release that accompanied the publication of the full Report can be seen here.
The Wellbeing Research Centre’s very own Dr Nicola Mann has just recently published a co-edited book “Rhetoric, Social Value and the Arts: But How Does it Work?”.
16 June 2017
‘Round-table discussion on the environment’
In June 2017 the Wellbeing Research Centre, hosted a roundtable discussion on a number of themes linked to some of the core environmental challenges of our time. The timely importance of this discussion is unbderlined by the fact that October 2016 marked the 10th anniversary of the publication of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. One of our panelists spoke directly to this, whilst others were encouraged to review this work and take stock of its conclusions and assess these more generally.
Professor Paul Fisher provided the keynote address. The full details of all presentations made appears below:
- 10:00-10:30, Keynote Speaker – Dr Paul Fisher(Visiting Professor at Richmond and formerly Deputy Head of the Prudential Regulation Authority at the Bank of England) opened the session with his talk on the relationship between climate change and risks to the financial sector. In this talk he discussed the state of play of policy making to address these risks.
- 10:30-10:50 – Dr John Curran(Independent academic and recently Principal Lecturer at London Metropolitan University) explored some of the implications of Professor Nick Stern’s 2006 report on the economics of climate change and asked whether the report was still important 10 years after its publication; facilitated by Parviz Dabir-Alai.
- 10:55-11:15 – Jialiang Zhang(Senior Consultant at Ecofys) discussed carbon pricing and some of the recent global developments impacting this (for example, the Paris Agreement of 2015); facilitated by Nastaran Norouzi.
- 12:00-13:00 – LUNCH
- 13:10-13:30 – Dr Wayne Clark(Associate Professor of Science, at Richmond) looked at several aspects of the physical environment. In this regard his talk was entitled “What is ‘natural’, what is ‘rare’? The ethics of alien species, upland farming, conservation, and re-wilding”; facilitated by David Munyinyi.
- 13:35-13:55 – Hilary Jennings (Director of the Happy Museum Project) discussed her work as the part-time Director of the Happy Museum Project (HMP) which works with museums to develop their role in civil society, and working with communities to build resilience through well-being and environmental sustainability. The title of her presentation was “How can museums help foster wellbeing that doesn’t cost the Earth“. The HMP works with a community of museums across the UK and has recently launched a new Affiliate Scheme; facilitated by Nicola Mann.
- 14:00-14:20 – Dr Mike Keating(Professor of International Political Economy, at Richmond) discusses the role of appropriate technology in the context of a low-carbon energy transition; facilitated by Sabine Spangenberg.
- 14:25-15:00 – Discussion and Close
Venue: Room 106 Briggs Hall, Richmond University, Ansdell Street, London W8 5BN (a 5 minute walk from High Street Kensington).
27 February 2017
‘The success of unconditional cash transfers as a development strategy’
The Wellbeing Research Centre at Richmond University welcomed Ana Correa. at the time of the presentation Ana worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey, where she obtained an MSc (with Distinction) in Economics. Prior to that she graduated with a First Class degree in Economics from Richmond University. She has published widely in her own right and has a rich research agenda in front of her in relation to programs in health, development and related areas.
For further questions please contact Dr. Parviz Dabir-Alai (firstname.lastname@example.org).
8 December 2016
‘How do young people see the World?’
Atalk by Yemi Babington-Ashaye on a recent WEF large scale survey
At the time of his presentation Yemi Babington-Ashaye worked as the Head of the Global Shapers Community at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. Yemi presented a talk on December 8th at 10:45am at the Lecture Theatre, Taylor Building, Richmond University, Queens Road, Richmond, Surrey TW10 6JP.
The presentation discussed the thinking and the shape of the survey carried out by Yemi and his team at the WEF.
12 October 2016
‘Economic Policy: The UK economy and selected topics in economic policy’
On October 12th Mr Sanjay Raja presented a detailed discussion on the performance of the UK economy since around the time of the 2007-8 financial crisis. The presentation was policy focused and generated a considerable amount of discussion amongst the audience.
At the time of the presentation Sanjay Raja worked as an economist with KPMG in London and prior to that was with the National Audit Office also in London. Sanjay earnt his MSc in Economics from the LSE and left Richmond University in 2011 with a First Class Honors degree in Economics.
5 Ocotber 2016
‘What should we (not) expect of central banks?’
A public lecture by Professor Paul Fisher, October 5th 2016
On October 5th 2016 Professor Paul Fisher delivered a lecture on the theme of central banking capabilities to a group of around 30 students and faculty at the Richmond Business School in Kensington, London. During the talk Paul focused on 3 inter-linked issues:
- what can central banks achieve (and not achieve) in policy terms?
- expectations of what central banks can use their balance sheet for.
- expectations on economic forecasts.
The talk was followed by a lively question and answer session. Full papers may be requested by contacting Dr. Dabir-Alai at the Centre.
Paul Fisher is a Visiting Professor of Finance and Economics at Richmond University. He is also a recent member of the Bank of England’s influential Monetary Policy Committee. Paul’s other affiliations include:
Chair, London Bullion Market Association
Chair, London Institute of Banking and Finance
Senior Associate, Cambridge University Institute for Sustainability Leadership
24 June 2016
‘Workshop on education and wellbeing‘
This workshop provided the opportunity for members and guests to explore the role education plays in promoting wellbeing around the world. The relationship between education and wellbeing is relevant to both developing nations (especially within the context of the newly formulated Sustainable Development Goals) and advanced economics (for example in terms of social mobility). Participants explored a range of issues including sociocultural, economic, technological, gender-related, political and other issues. Topics included the effects of education on wellbeing in general through an investigation of the impact of education on health, social welfare, race and gender equality, social networks, employment and other relevant considerations.
The day started with a keynote address by Peter Grant and ended with a presentation by Parviz Dabir-Alai (based on joint work with Ana Oliveira). Full program on the day was as below:
10:30 – 11:00, facilitated by Parviz Dabir-Alai
Keynote Speaker: Peter Grant, co-founder of Restored Relationships (title: Wellbeing and Education – gender and related angles)
11:15 – 11:45, facilitated by Peter Grant
Anne Lotter, Founder and CEO of Project Le Monde (title: The Impact of Structural Violence on Education in Uganda)
12:00 – 12:30, facilitated by Anne Lotter
Sabine Spangenberg, Professor of Economics, Richmond Business School (title: The English Bipartite Secondary School System: Behavioural Considerations)
Lunch 12:45 – 13:30
13:30 – 14:00, facilitated by David Munyinyi
Jake Barber, Assistant Professor of General Education, (title: Project articulation and utility, local capacity and sustainability – the case of a post crisis Sri Lankan university)
14:15 14:45, facilitated by Parviz Dabir-Alai
Nastaran Norouzi, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Richmond Business School (title: Education in the 21st Century – technology in the classroom: a blessing or a curse?)
15:00 – 15:30, facilitated by Nicola Mann.
Ana Oliveira, Associate Dean, School of General Education and Parviz Dabir-Alai, Professor of Economics, both at Richmond Business School.
Adding value by degree: a case study.
Workshop ended at 15:45
15 June 2016
‘BREXIT referendum debate: to REMAIN or to LEAVE’
The Wellbeing Research Centre organised a debate on the BREXIT referendum held in the UK on June 23rd, 2016.
The debate participants included Ivan Cohen and Inma Ramos, who spoke for REMAIN, and Nick Wilkinson and Parviz Dabir-Alai who, on this occasion, supported the LEAVE campaign. The debate was chaired by Sabine Spangenberg.
This lively session played out to a packed audience on June 15th, 2016 at 5pm (Upper Dining Hall, Atlantic House, Richmond University, 1 St. Alban’s Grove, Kensington, London W8 5PN, nearest tube station: High Street Kensington).
6 June 2014
‘Seminar on Development and Wellbeing’
This all day event held on the Richmond Hill campus of the University had Professor Peter Grant (former Head of the International Department at DFID) giving the keynote address.
Other papers were presented by: Robert Read (Lancaster), Nick Wilkinson (Richmond), Mike Keating (Richmond), Ali Shamsavari (Kingston), Sabine Spangenberg (Richmond), and Tamara Trafton (Quest).