Thursday Evenings at SIPA

The following was contributed by Kristoffer Tangri, a second-year SIPA student from Germany pursuing a MIA degree with a concentration in International Security Policy.


Thursdays are popular for events and receptions at SIPA and sometimes it can be difficult to choose. Last Thursday was one of these days.  After having listened to the insights of a respectable guest speaker from the International Peace Institute in my class on “Building Peace after Conflict”, I had a remarkable choice of public events and reception to attend at SIPA. Not always an easy choice.

Downstairs on the 4th floor, the auditorium was filling with students who were interested in hearing Noam Chomsky’s opinions on “The Unipolar Moment and the Culture of Imperialism”, while in the building next door, Robert C. Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Planning and Policy Coordination in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, was speaking on “The Secretary-General’s Agenda and The Challenges He Faces.”

Meanwhile, on the 15th floor, SIPA’s Energy Association was hosting a panel to discuss “the adaptation of large-scale renewable energy under a proposed cap and trade system” and on the same floor, Columbia’s Dirk Salomons was moderating a panel discussion about the international response to the ongoing crisis of childhood malnutrition with experts from the Doctors Without Borders.

After so much academic input, one feels the need to go out and socialize with fellow students – but where?  Should I go to the UN Studies Christmas Party on the 9th floor, or drop by the Latin American Association’s reception? Maybe I go over to the B-School on Campus for a few hours of free drinks (paid for by the tuition of our wealthy Business School students). Later that evening, the Migration Working Group was having a fundraiser party down in the East Village, too.

One thing you can be sure of at SIPA. You will always have an amazing variety of public lectures and events to attend, both at SIPA and at the many departments around Columbia University and of course New York City itself, with the UN and Wall Street just around the corner. And in case you are worried about the living costs of New York, these events always come with free food and wine.