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The Global Development Solutions (GDS) Lab is an interdisciplinary initiative at Auburn University that fosters global research, teaching, and outreach. The mission of the Global Development Solutions Lab is to advance global research, teaching, and outreach that:

  • promotes sustainable community development

  • protects civic space, and

  • leverages the synergies between the disciplines of nonprofit studies, philanthropy, and social work

Core Objectives

The core objectives of GDS are:

  1. To integrate research, teaching, and outreach in the sub-disciplines of nonprofit studies, philanthropy, and social work.

  2. To apply and translate this research, teaching, and outreach in order to empower citizens on the ground to be civic agents that can solve community problems and facilitate social development.


GDS achieves these objectives by designing, implementing, and evaluating applied research projects, education and training programs, and outreach initiatives that:

  • focus on macro-level transformation

  • strengthen citizens’ ability to effect social change, and

  • help solve local level problems in developing societies using participatory, empowering, equitable, rights based, and sustainable approaches


GDS works in support of Sustainable Development Goal 16: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.” GDS also supports the new 2020-2030 Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development and its commitment to “co-building inclusive social transformation.”

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