U.N. Secretary-General Visits SIPA Students in Malawi

One of the hallmarks of a SIPA education is 30 full weeks of professional development while studying in our program.  Although employers value academic learning, the immediate challenges they face require people of action.  Our professional development opportunities teach you how to mix what you are learning in the classroom into the “real world” of complex policy development.

Practical training takes place through a 15 week internship and a 15 week workshop.  Both projects are completed with real world policy agencies and give you the opportunity to showcase your abilities and experience in a job interview.  Internships and workshops can also be completed anywhere in the world because we do not offer summer classes.  The summer is an ideal time to travel anywhere in the world to complete one the required professional experiences.

One set of policy goals our students have been involved with are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The Secretary General of the United Nations recently visited one of the projects SIPA students have been working on under the guidance of Professor Jeff Sachs.  An excerpt of the article is below, the full article can be found on the Columbia News site.   And for details on other workshops our students have been involved in, please see our workshop page.

On May 30, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Mwandama, a rural village located in southern Malawi once marked by rampant and extreme poverty. Since 2006, however, the village of approximately 35,000 people has been moving closer to achieving sustainable development, thank to its involvement in the Millennium Villages, led by Columbia’s Earth Institute, along with the United Nations Development Programme and the nonprofit Millennium Promise. The initiative strives to help poor communities end hunger, achieve education, have access to health care and meet other vital needs using best practices in science, research and technology.


Working closely with local and national governments, businesses and other partners, Columbia researchers and students from across the University are applying their expertise in public health, energy, water, agriculture, engineering and other areas to help communities meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—eight objectives for meeting basic human needs and achieving sustainable growth. Approximately 500,000 people now live in 80 Millennium Villages, all of which are located in “hunger hotspots,” areas of low agricultural productivity and extreme hunger. The hotspots comprise several different agro-ecological zones distributed across 10 sub-Saharan African countries, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda.