argues that rather than economic development being the essential starting point for democratic agency, the relation is reversed–the development of human agency on a democratic basis is the starting point for all else. Dr. Collins makes the same kind of argument, about the essential role of local and national agency in the development process. The focus on indigenous knowledge is associated with this argument. As the examples from Thailand and Uganda show, to really draw on indigenous knowledge is immensely challenging—as hard as designing a decision-making process that folds in donors and users of resources on an equal basis.
Here again higher education is key. Higher education develops flexible and multiple thinkers, capable of hybridzing different knowledge in useful ways. As Dr. Collins concludes, the more the Bank can make use of universities (whether from the global metropolis or the global periphery) as partners in its projects, the more that these valuable capabilities can be utilized, and the more that universities will contribute to the provision of sustainable services linked to community development at local, national and regional levels.
—Dr. Simon Marginson
Professor of Higher Education
University of Melbourne