Working to improve lives, reduce inequality and protect the environment

The world is complex, and the challenges can seem overwhelming. Here in the Department of Global Development, we unlock the energies and talents of experts from a range of disciplines to address some of the biggest problems facing humanity. We know solutions are hard. But we never stop asking questions, seeking answers and partnering with people and communities to make life better, everywhere. 

With a focus on education with impact, our transdisciplinary approach emphasizes real-world engagement with communities in New York state and around the globe. Our dynamic learning atmosphere and academic culture goes beyond purely technical work to provide deep analysis and transformative solutions.

This is what we do. We catalyze change and provoke fresh understanding. We develop next-generation leaders through engaged and active learning that connects students with field experiences. This is who we are. We are committed to justice, to science, to people and we never stop striving to make direct social impact all around the globe.

60+

Researchers

186

Undergraduate students

54

Graduate students

The world is complex. But we believe understanding is possible.

We take a multidisciplinary approach to tackle the biggest challenges of our time.

Food Security & Nutrition

Feeding 9 billion people by 2050 

Development Sociology

Understanding human behavior and interactions

Rural & community development

Solving local problems with homegrown solutions

Climate change

Sustaining a healthy Earth

Gender, race and ethnicity

Fighting for equality for everyone, everywhere

Economics

Confronting the cycle of poverty 

Education & leadership

Cultivating next-generation leaders  

Plant Sciences

Breeding crops for a food-secure world

Demography

Studying the structure of the human population

On the international stage

A woman with glasses on the top of her head sits at a desk in an office
Engaged research

54+

Visiting scientists & fellows

from over 20 countries

Land acknowledgement

Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York State and the United States of America. 

We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' people, past and present, to these lands and waters.

Making a sustainable impact

Recent insights, news and events in the Department of Global Development

Max Pfeffer stands in a library to have his portrait taken

News

Innovative scholar and leader Max Pfeffer announces retirement
Max Pfeffer, a distinguished researcher of rural and urban communities and a leader who helped reshape the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for the 21st century, will become emeritus professor of global development on July 1.
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development
A cassava flower held by two fingers

News

A tropical root-crop that is a daily staple food to hundreds of millions of people in Africa and increasingly being used by small-holder farmers in commercial production, cassava has historically been difficult for plant breeders to improve in...
  • Department of Global Development
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Plant Breeding and Genetics Section
Lead NY with drawing of New York state outline and plant

News

Lead New York, a leadership development program for adult professionals in the food, agriculture and natural resource sectors, has announced the members of its 19th class.
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development