Lecturer/Assistant Professor | Flinders University

Glocal Development for Sustainable Social Change

Glocal Development contests hegemonic Development Communication models, combines Glocal Engagement Dimensions (intellect, morality, emotion, and action) with Principles of Glocal Engagement (adaptation of Klyukanov’s intercultural communication principles); and proposes respectful partnerships, negotiation of values, knowledges, perspectives, and worldviews among local and global communities.

Research informing summary:
Book chapter: Glocal Development for Sustainable Social Change (2020)
Peer Reviewed


This research used a qualitative approach.

Theoretical frameworks of glocal development were developed and expanded to integrate communities, include diverse voices, and to level the playing field among local and global communities. Critical pedagogy is a significant component in attempting to inspire communities to critically assess their lived experience and to action change at multiple levels.



This research was independently conducted and did not receive funding from outside of the university.

Additional reading:
  • Evidence: Vijay Prasad on the “colonial mindset of the West”[Access resource]
  • Background: GWU-Grameen Bank & Trust Partnership Link[Access resource]

Key points

  • Developing world nations should reclaim voice and agency; and design and lead glocalization of learning and glocal “development from below” (a unique approach demonstrated by the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winners, Yunus & Bank)

My research on glocalization and glocal development is a contesting framework; it seeks to challenge, oppose and disrupt the hegemonic western viewpoint. Rather than being apologetic or staying silent, non-western communities should become more vocal in protesting the hegemony of western worldviews. Development communication models espoused Western worldviews of the developing world legitimating an ongoing transfer and application of Western ideals, with little room for the non-western world to share developing world perspectives based on their lived experience. It is necessary to contest the dominant development communication paradigms which regard the developing world as “in need of fixing or revitalisation”, treating developing community enhancement and progress as a ‘reconstruction project’ among first world superpowers.


  • From a critical review of the old development communication models and critical analysis of their impact on developing world communities, it was found that development communication perspectives led to further impoverishment of developing world communities through the bonded development agendas of the IMF and the World Bank.
  • It became necessary to seek alternate models to development communication.

    Therefore, glocal development which provides a framework for local and global communities to engage in mutually beneficial community empowerment has been identified as an equitable framework. "Glocal Development (GD) refers to the simultaneous development of both local and global communities as a partnership in human endeavor rather than as an economic venture where one partner is subordinate to the other" (Patel, 2020). Furthermore, "GD builds glocal communities based on equity, inclusivity, and diversity principles and subscribes to the “third culture” (Lee, 2003) building perspective in which “cultural wealth” (Patel) is the “transactional currency” (Patel, 2020) thereby providing opportunities for developing and developed countries to partner together to achieve the UNESCO 2030 SDGs. "Glocal Development is an equalizer of sorts as it attempts to remove the divisional references among the communities from the three worlds …" (Patel, 2012)

  • Communities in the developing world, such as in the Asian Pacific region, appear to incorporate various components of the glocal development paradigm .

    The Asian-Pacific higher education community are working together in partnership, constantly sharing information, knowledge and action change agendas. For example, in the field of international higher education, the Asian Pacific region have taken steps through APUCEN (Asia-Pacific University Community Engagement Network) to advance collaborative engagement and partnerships through mutual exchange of learning and teaching perspectives.

  • Presenting glocal development as an alternative to internationalization and to development communication is a challenge because it has not reached 'critical mass'.

    In my thirty year engagement with western higher education institutions, it appears that there is a reluctance to accept glocal development as a mutually beneficial collaborative future-oriented, sustainable paradigm. This is disconcerting because over fifty years after development communication models were thrust upon developing world communities, alternate frameworks remain less visible in the glocal development discourse although developing world communities are perhaps more inclined toward embracing glocal development.

What it means

Prior development communication models and approaches from the West accented the glocal divide between developing world communities and wealthy developed communities. Practitioners and policymakers have a key role to play in righting the wrongs and levelling the playing field. They have the voice, ability, and the public space to lead reconciliatory actions. If more of them speak about the positive impact of glocal development as an equaliser, it will reach critical mass. We need to deconstruct and decolonise the Western hegemony and confront the tensions within this hegemony which we have passively accepted until now. We should also make our voices heard about the fact that large parts of the developing world remain in bonded development, in continual bondage through the IMF and the World Bank. We should take inspiration from the candid expressions of these views by Tricontinental scholar and author of the “The Poorer Nations:A Possible History of the Global South ,” Vijay Prasad. Prasad also raises pertinent issues around the “colonial mindset of the West” which he says “hasn’t changed”.

Another inspirational example is the phenomenal impact of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipients, Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank and their loan project – which are a significant example of sustainable glocal development started in Bangladesh in 1983 and currently adopted around the world. “Grameen methods are applied in projects in 58 countries, including the US, Canada, France, the Netherlands and Norway”.

How to use

  • Policymakers and practitioners must apply a solutions-based context to these forum discussions: They must identify what the key challenges are, how they are going to meet the challenges and resolve the issues, and who the key players are at national and community levels. Agency must come from community leaders, education leaders, and government leaders, however they have to come together to action change and to speak from the heart as one humanity.
  • Instead of working in isolation within their own governments and teams, policymakers and practitioners need to adopt the glocal development partnership model and collaborate, negotiate, exchange worldviews and lived experience among developing world communities: Rather than host annual conferences, they should come together frequently as an "action for change forum" which enhances glocal development through visible and tangible actioned change outcomes.
Special thanks to Ramya Zwaal for preparation assistance

We would like to extend a special thank you to Ramya Zwaal, for their invaluable contribution in assisting the preparation of this research summary.

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Patel, Fay. 'Glocal Development for Sustainable Social Change'. Acume. https://www.acume.org/r/glocal-development-for-sustainable-social-change/