International development and families will be the topics of two high-profile lectures taking place at the University of Guelph Feb. 23.

This year’s Hopper Lecture will feature Simon Maxwell, a senior researcher at the Overseas Development Institute and an emeritus fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, both in the United Kingdom. He will speak in Rozanski 102 at 5:30 p.m.

Nora Spinks, chief executive officer of the Vanier Institute of the Family, will deliver the 2016 Harshman Lecture at Cutten Fields at 7 p.m.

Both lectures are free and open to the public.

Maxwell will discuss “Finding a Place of One’s Own: Development Agency Choices in a New Landscape.”

An economist, Maxwell worked in Kenya and India for the UN Development Program, and in Bolivia, where he worked for the Overseas Development Administration.

Maxwell has written extensively on poverty, food security, agricultural development and aid. His current research interests also include development policy, relief and development links, global governance, and bridging of research and policy.

“Simon Maxwell’s extensive experience in various locations and research focus ties in well with the research goals of the University of Guelph,” said Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research).

“I am delighted that Simon has agreed to deliver this year’s Hopper Lecture, as I believe he has valuable lessons that would be of interest to many students, faculty and the wider community.”

During the Harshman lecture, Spinks will discuss “Families in Canada: Complex, Dynamic and Diverse.”

Challenges and issues facing families change constantly, said Prof. Donna Lero, holder of the Jarislowsky Chair in Families and Work. She has worked with Spinks for nearly 30 years on issues including work-life balance, child-care quality and caregiving.

“Families are more diverse today, and in some ways, seem more vulnerable,” said Lero.

“Understanding how families are changing and what their needs are is critical for developing the kinds of policies and community services that families need and that all will benefit from. Nora has spent many years working to strengthen families, create productive and supportive work environments, and build healthy communities.”

RSVP for the Harshman Lecture by Feb. 18 by emailing or calling 519-824-4120, Ext. 56321.