Grand Challenges

There are a number of daunting problems that are plaguing different parts of our globe. Some are easier to handle than others, although they are not impossible to overcome. Through out the assigned readings, I noticed that there was a common focus to the Grand Challenges that we are faced with and that is that these challenges are able to encourage and push forward new innovations, technological advances and even “tackle important problems” that are related to different sectors of our world; such as “health, education, the environment, national security and global development” (White House and Grand Challenges). I always believed that grand challenges posed a threat to our daily lives and cultures rather than give us new ways of dealing with different sustainable tasks at hand. Khalil’s statement that “grand challenges capture the public’s imagination” proves that certain obstacles can bring different communities together to help create a better inclusive sustainable development. I do agree with the readings that if a Grand Challenge is “too narrowly defined” will need a “technical solution” that can also “reduce the opportunity for new approaches” (Khalil 2012).

When reading about MDGs, I was not aware of what they were or their concepts and targets in regards to an inclusive sustainable development. The Millennium Development Goals seemed to have much more weaknesses than strengths, and their strengths also were their weaknesses (Millennium Development Goals). They were silent on the means in which to purse grand challenges and lacked fundamental approaches on how to deal with the “process of change from one state to the other” (Millennium Development Goals). I highly disagree with their “one-size fits all” assumption. Each country and community have their own set of unique challenges that they face and, even though they can be similar, some have to be dealt with in a completely different manner and with different types of innovations and technologies. So I find it incorrect to generalize all grand challenges to be the same and be dealt with in the same manner.

Within the field of International Relations, there are many challenges to be dealt with that require different sets of skills, knowledge and technology, and with grand challenges, this field requires a set of minds that are able to find new and innovative ways to achieve the goals of the challenges at hand. It is essential to rethink the importance of what goes with the process of international development. This class will give me the tools necessary to better understand inclusive sustainable development and what are ways that I can contribute to creating a more inclusive environment.

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