The International Consortium for Social Development has given Michael Sherraden the 2021 James Billups International Social Development Leadership Award.
In presenting the award, Consortium President Manohar Pawar recognized Sherraden’s “distinguished contribution to social development theory and practice knowledge based on impactful action in strengthening the financial capacity and asset base for poor people and communities in several countries.”
“I am honored to receive this award in the name of Jim Billups,” said Sherraden, the George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor at Washington University and the founding director of the Center for Social Development (CSD) in the university’s Brown School.
Working with the CSD team and many partners, Sherraden has made numerous contributions to international social development. These include research, public policy, and practice efforts in various countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Throughout his career, Sherraden has helped to create and evaluate asset-building initiatives in national policies and in local programs.
The award comes as Sherraden, CSD, and a multinational group of partners launch FCAB Africa (Financial Capability and Asset Building in Africa), a new collaboration to broaden the financial stability and security of marginalized populations on the continent. The initiative is designed to equip frontline human-service practitioners with basic financial knowledge and tools for their clients and, through collaboration with financial service providers, to create a comprehensive financial-development program delivered through existing services, including fintech (financial technology).
With colleagues at the Center for Social Development, Peking University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and other institutions, Sherraden is already engaged in a similar initiative in mainland China, where the partners are improving the financial capability of social workers and other human-service professionals.
His work also has broadened the horizons international service. Pawar noted, “Professor Sherraden’s research on civic service, ‘National Service,’ in 1982, and ‘The Moral Equivalent of War,’ in 1990, contributed to the creation of AmeriCorps in 1993.”
Honoring James Billups
Renowned for his commitment to peace and social justice, James Billups served as president of the International Consortium for Social Development from 1990 through 1998. A professor in the Ohio State University College of Social Work, he authored numerous works, including the 2002 “Faithful Angels: Portraits of International Social Work Notables.” Billups was a 1970 graduate of the doctoral program in Washington University’s Brown School and won the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995.
The Billups Award is given annually by the consortium’s president and Executive Council. It recognizes recipients’ commitment to peace, social justice, and inclusiveness, as well as to “building social, economic, and political capacities of individuals, families, communities, nation-states, and international organizations whereby the goals of human realization, equality, human rights, peace and social and economic justice are reached through comprehensive, collective, remedial and developmental efforts.” Sherraden accepted the award during a session of the 22nd biennial conference of the International Consortium for Social Development.
“I remember Jim Billups very well, and remember his spirit and energy most of all. That spirit and energy continue with this award. I hope that I can be half as positive and forward looking as Professor Billups,” Sherraden said.