Tribute to Adrian Leftwich

(Written by Steve Hogg on behalf of the Developmental Leadership Program, DLP, one of the partners behind this blog)

It is with profound sadness that the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) team advises colleagues of the death of Adrian Leftwich, DLP’s inspirational Director of Research, on 2 April 2013.

As a highly regarded political scientist, through his work with DLP and its predecessors, and at the University of York, Adrian has influenced development thinking internationally. His DLP work contributed significantly to both UK and Australian development thinking, policies and programs. His impact can also be seen with stakeholders such as the international Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and through his influential books, such as “States of Development: On the Primacy of Politics in Development” cited as “…above all a call for an appreciation of the profoundly political nature of development” (Rita Abrahamsen, International Affairs).

We’re confident that Adrian achieved his ambition to challenge and influence international aid orthodoxy: across the board, international aid agencies now recognise and better understand the centrality and complexity of politics in development, the political dynamics of economic growth, and role of local power and leaderships in legitimate institutional change. Adrian’s work contributed to these achievements in no small measure.

In October 2012, just before his diagnosis with lung cancer, Adrian wrote “I do want to say that working on this DLP stuff for the past 5 years or more has been the best and most fascinating experience of my life.” DLP plans to mark Adrian’s legacy in a number of ways, including a conference later in 2013. In order to share the many tributes to Adrian’s life, work, and generosity that have flooded in, we have set up a space for tributes both personal and professional, beginning with some words from his children. We welcome contributions by email. See:

Our thoughts and support are with Adrian’s two wonderful children, Maddy and Ben.

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