The Writing on the Wall

Posted by Molly Powers

In many areas, SIPA is ahead of the curve on paperless and wireless innovation. Classrooms are multimedia, occasionally even connecting lecturers and other classrooms from around the world. Your readings and the lion’s share of research materials are online, papers are submitted via a course dropbox, students collaborate on projects over google docs, lucid charts, and prezi.  But perhaps because SIPA students’ inboxes are so constantly brimming, when it comes to publicizing school-wide events, we tend to resort to old-fashioned forms of marketing, i.e. posters.

It is one of the great frustrations of my SIPA experience that each day as I walk from the 4th floor to the 6th floor café, I read about all the amazing things that are happening on campus that I won’t be able to attend because, oh yeah, I have to go to classes. A seminar on digital politics in Tibet. A film screening of Food Inc. by the SIPA Food Group. A speakers panel on Rio +20 with the UN Ambassador from Brazil. A public policy forum on voters’ rights with the NAACP President. A workshop on salary negotiation.  I find myself wishing that for a semester, instead of taking courses, I could attend every interesting panel or seminar. But then the courses are pretty good too.


Here’s a taste of what’s on the wall this week.


Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed: The MSF Experience

Monday, March 19 from 6pm to 9pm

Humanitarian negotiations are life-and-death issues for people in need, but they also raise troubling political and ethical dilemmas for the organizations that are engaged in them. In the forthcoming book Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed: The MSF Experience, published by Columbia University Press, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) takes a critical look at how its teams have negotiated to gain access to people in urgent need of lifesaving medical assistance in the 40 years since MSF was founded, including recent case studies from Somalia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.

Please join us at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs for a moderated panel discussion of these issues with John Fiddler, an experienced MSF aid worker; Sophie Delaunay, the Executive Director of MSF-USA; and the iconoclastic author David Rieff (A Bed for the Night). They will describe the often complicated process of negotiating with governments, armed groups, public health officials, international actors, community leaders, and local officials; as well as the struggle to define what compromises are acceptable in order to run programs in crisis zones.

Sponsored by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, SIPA’s Humanitarian Affairs Program, and SIPA’s International Organizations Specialization.


Wednesday March 21, 9pm- Midnight at the Harlem Tavern

SIPA Students vs. Engineering School Students: who will win when the battle when analysts and engineers match wits? I guess we’re hoping that most of the trivia questions are not word problems, huh SIPA? $15 Ticket includes drink and food. Live music until 10, followed by trivia, with prizes for the winning team.


March 5- April 2

A Photo Competition for the best and worst examples of sustainability in New York and beyond. Awards Ceremony April 9 at 8pm.


  1. Focus on objects, not people 
  2. Upload all photos to the facebook page with your name, UNI, and a 1-2 sentence description of why the photo fits into its category
  3. You must be the photographer, but the photo does not have to be recent. Look in past albums.
  4. Open to everyone in the SIPA community. 

Sponsored by SIPA Food Group, Net Impact, and SIPA Environmental Coalition