This blog focuses on development cooperation. Working in countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Asia, involving stakeholders in public sector, private sector, and civil society, I came to realize that development cooperation is a broad and intricately woven canvas. It involves relations between individuals that cut across, inter alia, boundaries (man-made or natural), culture, ethnicity, language, race, and values. Understanding these complex relations is crucial for a development worker with an anthropology background. This has in fact become a quest that goes beyond giving expert advice, and at the core involves a search for who I am in the midst of all this.
The two quotes are self-composed and have been with me since years. The first is posted in the "about" section on accounts and profiles on diverse websites that I manage or am involved in. The second is posted on the doors of all offices I have worked in throughout the world. They speak to my view of my own self, and how it has evolved over my professional life. They are a reflection of who I was at the time they were composed. There may be a sense in which I today sub-consciously try to live up to whatever truths or insights they may hold. This inverse logic aside, I have tried to hold on to certain basic values throughout my work and travels in multiple countries and cultures.
And so it is that this blog rambles widely, while hopefully still being coherent, centred around a fundamental concern with description, analyses, and advancement of the human condition, as seen through the filters of development cooperation and my own personae. Given my citizenship, present residence, and where I have done a lot of work, there is a certain focus on Norway, Bulgaria, and South Asia. A majority of the articles are in English, some are in Norwegian, and a few are in both languages. Once published, articles are not cast in stone and may be updated, partly because the world is changing, partly because I am changing, and partly because of a perhaps unfortunate tendency towards perfectionism. Further, diversions may turn into main avenues of exploration. This means I cannot promise a clear logic in the progression of the overall argument. Photos and videos are from projects I have worked on, and are available on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/supras/albums). Comments are welcome at: https://devblog.no/en/content/contacts.
So much for my rationale – or excuse – for writing this blog. Hold tight and enjoy the ride!
Lars T. Soeftestad (Søftestad)