Since 2008, I have delivered more than 80 invited talks or seminars in many  countries and at a variety of forums: social sciences, global development, public policy, China & Asian studies, and research methods. Below is a selection.


keynote & public lectures 

Adrian Leftwich Memorial Lecture. University of Manchester, Global Development Institute. October 31, 2018.

Keynote @ Istanbul Development Dialogue 2018. Organized by UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub. February 8, 2018. | Link

Keynote @ International Seminar on China’s Development & Poverty Reduction, Beijing. Co-hosted by CIKD (China) & DFID (UK). November 2017.

Keynote @ Institute of Policy Studies (Singapore), Corporate Associates’ Breakfast Talk, “The Role of Relations in US-China Relations.” May 2017.

China & global development

Centre for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD). (background here). November 2017.

  • Book talk with DRC (Development Research Council) & CIKD at State Council
  • Seminar on comparative historical research at CIKD
  • Event summary (Eng) (中文)
  • Book report on State Council-DRC website (Eng) (中文)

Photo credit: CIKD

University of Michigan. Africa-China Conference on Infrastructure, Resource Extraction and Environmental Sustainability, April 6-7, 2017

United States Institute of Peace (USIP). Panel on “China’s Impact on Global Development.” Jointly organized with Jennifer Staats. December 7, 2017.

Camden Conference. Annual foreign policy conference, “Will this be China’s century?”, Feb 22-24, 2019.

Global Development

London School of Economics & Political Science. Lecture series on “Cutting Edge Issues in Development Thinking & Practice,” November 2, 2018.

UNDP (New York). United Nations Development Program, Innovation Conversations. “Three Fallacies of Embracing Complexity. March 28, 2018. | Link

United Nations (New York). UN Expert Group Meeting on Strategies for Eradicating Poverty to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals, New York, May 8-11, 2017.

World Bank (Washington DC). Conference on Innovating Bureaucracy, “The Political Economy of Bureaucratic Reforms,” November 8-9, 2017 | link

World Bank (Washington DC). Book Seminar for How China Escaped the Poverty Trap. Discussants: Yongmei Zhou (World Bank) & Nancy Birdsall (Center for Global Development). December 16, 2016.

  • Read Yongmei Zhou’s book review at the World Bank Development Blog
  • Read my blog on World Bank’s Governance Blog: “Which comes first: good governance or economic growth?”

World Bank (Malaysia). Conference on “Enhancing the Quality of Service Delivery” (organized by Michael Woolcock), January 2017.

DFID (UK Department of International Development). “Bureaucratic Reforms as Political Reforms: The Case of China.” London, Feb 12, 2018.

OECD Development Center. Dev Talks Series, “Which Comes First in Development: Good Governance or Economic Growth?” Paris, Feb 7, 2018

  • Read my blog at OECD Development Matters on “Normatively weak institutions can be functionally strong.”

Global Integrity. Book Talk @ Open Gov Hub, Washington DC. September 14, 2017 | See pre-event blog & post-event recap

With Alan Hudson (Global Integrity) & Edouard Al-Dahdah (World Bank)

Overseas Development Institute, UK. Panel on “Transformative Ideas in Economics,” with Kunal Sen (UN-WIDER), Rachel Glennerster (DFID), Dirk Willem te Velde (ODI) & Tim Kelsall (ODI), Feb 9, 2018. | Link

Photo credit: Helen Dempster, ODI

Institute of Development Studies, UK. Complexity & Development Seminar Series, “Complexity & Development 2.0: From Agreeing We Should Adapt to Creating the Conditions that Enable Adaptation, Feb 13, 2018. | link

Harvard Kennedy School. MPAID (Masters in Public Administration-International Development) Speaker Series, 2017 + 2018.

Brookings Institution & Global Development Network. Round-table on Institutional Change in the Aid Sector, June 20, 2016

Brookings, June 2016

With Alina Zyszkowski (GDN), Pierre Jacquet (GDN), and Homi Kharas (Brookings) @ Brookings

social sciences & methods

Princeton University. Institute for International and Regional Studies, Workshop on “Complexity & Systems Thinking,” Nov 29-Dec 2, 2018.

University of Manchester. Global Development Institute, Masterclass on research design to PhD students, November 1, 2018.

Notre Dame University. Kellogg Institute Lecture Series, March 6, 2018

Harvard University. Department of Government & Weatherhead Center for International Studies, Comparative Politics Speaker Series, September 15, 2016.

University of Arizona, Tucson. 2nd Annual Southwest Workshop on Mixed-Methods Research. October 20-21, 2016.

Brown University. Department of Sociology & Watson Institute, Workshop on Going Beyond Governance, March 18-19, 2016

Princeton University. Princeton Network on State-Building in the Developing World, Workshop in Oxford (2014), Brazil (2012), India (2011).