Michael Edwards


1938 –


Who is Michael Edwards?

Michael Edwards is a writer and activist who has worked in various positions in foundations, think-tanks and international development institutions and who has written widely on civil society, philanthropy and social transformation. He is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos in New York and has worked in senior management positions for Oxfam, Voluntary Service Overseas, Save the Children, the World Bank and the Ford Foundation. He also co-founded the Seasons Fund for Social Transformation which makes grants to organizations that link their work for social justice with spiritual principles and contemplative practices. His writings examine the global role of civil society and its institutions, the purpose and impact of philanthropy and the not-for-profit sector, the role of business in solving social problems, and the links between personal and social transformation.

Edwards first came to prominence in the 1980s when he criticized the “Irrelevance of Development Studies” in an article that sparked many years of debate about the extractive nature of social science research, a theme that he has continued to pursue ever since. In the 1990s he and David Hulme from Manchester University turned their attention to non-governmental organizations and hosted a series of influential conferences on scaling-up their impact, strengthening their performance and accountability, assessing the costs and benefits of closer ties between NGOs, governments and international donor agencies, and exploring how NGOs could adapt to globalization and the increasing diversity of the “North” and the “South.”

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  • University of Oxford

on July 23, 2013


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