For the last 30 years, the University of Guelph has invited internationally renowned scholars to discuss their work on contemporary and future global development challenges in the annual Hopper Lecture

The free event is named in honour of Dr. David Hopper, a former U of G agricultural economics professor who, in 1970, founded  the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), now a Crown corporation that plays an in important role in Canada’s foreign affairs and development efforts. 

A unique long-term collaboration between the IDRC and U of G – the only kind in the IDRC’s history – the Hopper Lecture celebrates the many significant connections between the two institutions.  

Speakers offer public lectures about critical issues in international development at U of G and at a second Canadian university of their choice. 

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson delivers 2023 lecture 

A graphic promoting the Hopper Lecture features of mosaic of blue waves, a photo of Leanne Betasamosake Sinpson and the words Theories of Water: Using Michi Saagig Hishname consciousness to dismantle the present moment

This year, the Guelph Institute of Development Studies (GIDS) invited Leanne Betasamosake Simpson to give the Hopper Lecture.

Simpson is a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer and artist, widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. 

In her talk on Theories of Water, Simpson reflects on what it means to listen to, and believe in water, taking inspiration from the works of interdisciplinary Anishinaabekwe artist Rebecca Belmore and poet and School of English and Theatre Studies professor Dionne Brand

Through this work that is deeply connected with the land, Simpson challenges systems of colonialism that have contributed to our current climate and humanitarian crises. 

Hopper Lecture a forum for distinguished thought leaders

a person stands at the front of a lecture hall beside a large screen showing slide
Dr. Caroline Shenaz Hossein, University of Toronto professor of of global development and political science, speaking at the 2021 Hopper Lecture

“At the Guelph Institute of Development Studies, we are thinking carefully about how to pursue decolonial forms of global solidarity and partnership as the world faces multiple complex crises,” said Dr. Andrea Paras, GIDS director.  

“Decolonization is about meaningfully shifting power relationships, as well as questioning dominant ways of thinking, being and doing,” Paras said. “We are so honoured that Dr. Simpson has agreed to share her knowledge with us as we think and act on these questions.” 

The first Hopper Lecture was given in 1993 by Vandana Shiva, a distinguished environmentalist and feminist who champions the cause of grassroots participation in developing countries.  

Shiva shared with the audience her ideas on understanding threats to biological and cultural diversity, arguing that conservation of biodiversity is inevitably a movement for the protection of cultural diversity and a survival imperative.  

Over the years, the Hopper Lecture has continued to provide opportunities to share cutting- edge research about international development and engage with the Canadian public on global issues. 

International development thinkers who have presented Hopper lectures have covered a variety of topics, from former Peruvian president Francisco Sagasti’s lecture on the future of development cooperation, to feminist economist Naila Kabeer’s lecture on building collective actions on the margin with gender perspectives from South Asia.  

GIDS provides education, research and analysis related to international development and development in Canada, with a mandate to promote positive and inclusive change in the world and social justice for all.  


Guelph Institute of Development Studies (GIDS)