Author Archive for Columbia SIPA

SIPA Stories with Katie Jacobs Stanton and Mayor Eric Garcetti

We hosted an energetic and busy Summerfest NYC yesterday and met so many fantastic people. Thank you to all who came to network with us and the other top policy schools. If you’re in the D.C. area and are interested in graduate programs in international affairs, stop by Summerfest D.C. tonight.

A common question from prospective students last night was about how the MIA, MPA, or MPA-DP program would help them in their future careers. Who better to answer this question than two former students / current alumni?

Katie Jacobs Stanton (MIA ’95) shares how her SIPA education was applicable across her career in government and technology. She is the chief marketing officer of Color and former VP of global media for Twitter.

For a different perspective, Eric Garcetti (MIA ’93) was elected Mayor of Los Angeles in 2013 and speaks to how he wants Los Angeles to “become an example of how we bring folks across cultures together to build a new city.”

You can meet more of the people devoted to addressing public policy challenges at SIPA Stories.

Summer Reading from SIPA Professor and Alumni Authors

SIPA is home to practitioners, professors and faculty all across academia. Our distinguished professors have written books in their respective fields. So, while you kick-back and enjoy the summer take a look at these books!

Howard W. Buffett is an adjunct Associate Professor and Research Scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He chairs the advisory board for Columbia’s Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management, and he serves on the management advisory board for the university’s Earth Institute. Buffett is a coauthor of Social Value Investing: A Management Framework for Effective Partnerships (Columbia University Press, 2018), which analyzes innovative collaboration from across sectors and outlines a new methodology to measure social and environmental impact called Impact Rate of Return.

William B. Eimicke is Professor of Practice in International and Public Affairs and the founding director of the Picker Center for Executive Education of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. The Picker Center runs the School’s Executive MPA program (EMPA), SIPA’s audio-visual case study program, and the school’s executive training programs. Eimicke teaches courses in management, cross sector partnerships, applied policy analysis, and innovation. He also teaches at Peking University and the Universidad Externado de Colombia.

In their new book, Howard W. Buffett and William B. Eimicke present a five-point management framework for developing and measuring the success of such partnerships. Inspired by value investing — one of history’s most successful investment paradigms — this framework provides tools to maximize collaborative efficiency and positive social impact, so that major public programs can deliver innovative, inclusive, and long-lasting solutions. It also offers practical insights for any private sector CEO, public sector administrator, or nonprofit manager hoping to build successful cross-sector collaborations. The book also received a shout out from Bill Gates. 

Michael A. Nutter, the David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs, served almost 15 years in the Philadelphia City Council, then was elected the 98th Mayor of his hometown in November 2007 and took office in January 2008. At his inaugural address, Mayor Nutter pledged to lower crime, improve educational attainment rates, make Philadelphia the greenest city in America and attract new businesses and residents to the city. He also promised to lead an ethical and transparent government focused on providing high quality, efficient and effective customer service.

In 2007, after serving almost fifteen years on the Philadelphia City Council, Michael A. Nutter became the ninety-eighth mayor of his hometown of Philadelphia. From the time he was sworn in until he left office in 2016, there were triumphs and challenges, from the mundane to the unexpected, from snow removal, trash collection, and drinkable water, to the Phillies’ World Series win, Hurricane Irene, Occupy Philadelphia, and the Papal visit. By the end of Nutter’s tenure, homicides were at an almost fifty-year low, high-school graduation and college-degree attainment rates increased significantly, and Philadelphia’s population had grown every year. Nutter also recruited businesses to open in Philadelphia, motivating them through tax reforms, improved services, and international trade missions.Mayor Nutter details the important tasks that mayoral administrations do, he tells the compelling story of a dedicated staff working together to affect positively the lives of the people of Philadelphia every day. His anecdotes, advice, and insights will excite and interest anyone with a desire to understand municipal government.

Alum Andrea di Robilant (’80 SIPA) is the author of A Venetian Affair, a biography of his ancestor in 18th century Venice based on their correspondence; and a sequel entitled Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon. Di Robilant was born in Italy and educated at Le Rosey and Columbia University. He now lives in Rome, working as a correspondent for the newspaper La Stampa.

In the fall of 1948 Hemingway and his fourth wife traveled for the first time to Venice, which Hemingway called “a goddam wonderful city.” He was a year shy of his fiftieth birthday and hadn’t published a novel in nearly a decade. At a duck shoot in the lagoon he met and fell in love with Adriana Ivancich, a striking Venetian girl just out of finishing school. Di Robilant-whose great-uncle moved in Hemingway’s revolving circle of bon vivants, aristocrats, and artists-recreates with sparkling clarity this surprising, years-long relationship. Hemingway used Adriana as the model for Renata in Across the River and into the Trees, and continued to visit Venice to see her; when the Ivanciches traveled to Cuba, Adriana was there as he wrote The Old Man and the Sea. This illuminating story of writer and muse-which also examines the cost to a young woman of her association with a larger-than-life literary celebrity-is an intimate look at the fractured heart and changing art of Hemingway in his fifties.

Joseph E. Stiglitz is University Professor at Columbia and Co-Chair of the University’s Committee on Global Thought. He is also the co-founder and co-president of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia.In 2001, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for his analyses of markets with asymmetric information, and he was a lead author of the 1995 Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2011, Time named Stiglitz one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

America currently has the most inequality, and the least equality of opportunity, among the advanced countries. While market forces play a role in this stark picture, politics has shaped those market forces. In this best-selling book, Stiglitz exposes the efforts of well-heeled interests to compound their wealth in ways that have stifled true, dynamic capitalism. Along the way he examines the effect of inequality on our economy, our democracy, and our system of justice. Stiglitz explains how inequality affects and is affected by every aspect of national policy, and with characteristic insight he offers a vision for a more just and prosperous future, supported by a concrete program to achieve that vision.

[Book covers from and Columbia University Press.]

Life Beyond the Classroom: Spectrum

SIPA has so much to offer beyond the classroom, and we’re excited to hear from Spectrum during this Pride Month! Read on to learn more about what they do and stand for here at SIPA.

Spectrum is a student organization at SIPA that uses advocacy and information to advance local, national and international transformations, in favor of LGBTQIA rights. We bring together the talent of SIPA students who wish to make a difference in favor of equality and non-discrimination, particularly with regards to sexual orientation, gender expression or identity.

One of the most important goals of Spectrum is to maintain a friendly community where everyone feels welcomed. Spectrum is committed to supporting our members in their well-being. We’re committed to providing safe spaces for all students and take anonymity seriously.

What do we do? Along with panels and working lunches on topics related to LGBTQIA rights in the U.S. and the rest of the world, we throw the best happy hours to unite our community over a drink or two in informal settings!

  • Spectrum panelistsThis spring semester, we held a panel on Sexual Violence and Mental Health. Our guest speaker Jessica Stern, president of OutRight Action International, spoke on the importance of creating new and adjusting old policies that would address sexual violence in the United States. Monica Pombo, representative of the Sexual Violence Response unit at Columbia University, talked about counseling and medical services available for students on campus. Dr. Cindy Veldhuis, a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University’s School of Nursing, talked about the phenomena of sexual violence and how to address it.
  • We invited former and current SIPA students who successfully landed a job to share their experience in finding that job. Guest speakers included Jason Fauss (BlackRock), Nick Donias (KPMG), and Daniel Peciña-Lopez (European-American Chamber of Commerce in New York).
  • Spectrum also unites queers across the entire Columbia University. This past April we recently had a joint happy hour with LGBTQ communities from Columbia’s Law School, Business School, School of Science and Engineering, School of Social Work and School of General Studies.

Spectrum is an inclusive community — everyone who cares about LGBTQIA is welcome to become a member. Join us through OrgSync and our Facebook group to stay up-to-date with current events.

A View From the Class: Andres Ochoa Toasa & James Schalkwyk

The SIPA Office of Alumni and Development is excited to share A View from the Class, a SIPA stories series, featuring current SIPA students, recently graduated alumni, and SIPA faculty.

Headshot of AndresAndres Ochoa Toasa

Andres graduated from SIPA in May 2017 with a Master in International Affairs, concentrating in Economic and Political Development (EPD) with a specialization in Advanced Economic and Policy Analysis. Here, Andres discusses his EPD workshop project and how it impacted his SIPA experience.

Why did you choose SIPA and the EPD Concentration?
I chose SIPA over four other graduate schools to which I was accepted because of SIPA’s international public policy focus and because SIPA has built a community that reflects global perspectives through its faculty and students. My interest in the EPD concentration grew more organically. I have a law degree specializing in human rights and my professional experience is mainly in international development. I was drawn to the EPD program, not only for the strength of its courses, but also for the depth of the workshop projects, which stand out as practical and impactful. 

How did you decide on your EPD Workshop? What was the process like?
It was a difficult decision because there were so many choices. My development background is in youth engagement; however, at SIPA, I chose to focus my studies on courses related to monitoring and evaluation, the United Nations, and management. I applied for projects that combined these topics and were outside of my regional area of Latin America. I applied for projects based in Kosovo, Nepal, Cote d’Ivoire, and Myanmar; ultimately, choosing the project based in Kosovo. In the end, it was a very fun process because it showed me how much I had grown in two years and what continues to drive me as a development professional.

How did you spend your time in Kosovo? What were some highlight experiences?
In Kosovo, I worked very hard with another SIPA student on a project mobilizing young Kosovars to pursue sustainable development goals (SDGs).  We conducted all of the stakeholder analysis and interview processes, laying the groundwork for a second student group. We reached out to ministers, ambassadors, NGOs, youth movements, human right activists, journalists, and even artists to see how youth could begin mainstreaming the SDGs. One highlight experience occurred during our last meeting with an official who complimented us on our impressive understanding of youth engagement in Kosovo.

In what direction do you see your career moving? How do you think the EPD Workshop contributed to your future goals?
My career is now moving rapidly into international development. Through the workshop, I developed many tools and greater experience that complement my development background and professional experience and will allow me to address and take on global challenges.

 James Schalkwyk

James is a SIPA Fund Fellow and a second year student pursuing his Master of Public Administration, concentrating in Urban and Social Policy (USP) and specializing in Advanced Policy and Economic Analysis (APEA) and the U.S. Region. Here, James discusses his motivation for attending SIPA and his SIPA experience thus far.

What did you do prior to attending SIPA?
I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and studied music and English literature at the University of Cape Town. After interning with DARPA in Washington, DC, which focused on how to encourage private investment in interstellar space travel, I became interested in how governments and the private sector can work together to achieve technological and social breakthroughs. This led me to NASA Ames in Silicon Valley, where I worked in public-private partnerships and public and governmental affairs. In addition to putting together agreements touching all aspects of NASA’s work, my group focused on encouraging the emerging “NewSpace” industry in and around Silicon Valley. My office devised the innovative funding mechanism that gave rise to SpaceX and the Orbital Sciences Corporation, which helped renew the ability of the U.S. to service the International Space Station. The summer before coming to SIPA, I worked for the former director of NASA Ames on The Breakthrough Initiatives, a new program funded by Silicon Valley billionaire Yuri Milner, aimed at sending a probe to Alpha Centauri within a generation.

Why did you choose SIPA?
Several things influenced my decision to attend SIPA: I spoke to an alumnus who was extremely enthusiastic about his time at SIPA; I attended an event in San Francisco where Nobel Laureate and Columbia University Professor Joseph Stiglitz spoke to a small group about his work and our interests; and finally, and probably most importantly, I received a fellowship offer. Graduate school is a huge investment, and I cannot understate the importance of any level of financial assistance. This assistance made SIPA possible for me.

How did you choose the Urban and Social Policy (USP) Concentration?
Despite my experience in aerospace, I was becoming increasingly interested in domestic policy. I originally applied to the Economic and Political Development concentration; however, during my first semester, I found myself drawn to topics related to local governance. The outcome of the November U.S. elections also helped guide my decision, highlighting the importance of ensuring that government provides services and protections to the people who need them most. After choosing my classes for the spring semester, I found that almost all of them were in the USP concentration, cementing my decision to switch.

What has been your experience at SIPA so far?
I’ve made friends from all over the world and discovered a love for economics and statistics. This past summer, I worked with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation on city partnership programs with private companies and startups, which allowed me to get to know city government from the inside and increased my interest in “Smart Cities” and the “GovTech” space. Thanks to an opportunity through USP, this fall I will begin working part-time with the Citizen’s Budget Commission, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civic organization that attempts to influence change in the finances and services of New York City and New York State government. SIPA has both deepened my existing interests and opened up brand new vistas, and I feel more confident, engaged, and excited about the future.

The Beatles and the Dawn of Global Culture

In this day of anti-immigration, anti-science, ‘America First,’ and less-than-subtle racism, I found a welcome arrival recently with Ron Howard’s film The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years. Like many people my age, I grew up with the Beatles, and their music, values and image are deeply ingrained in my view of how the world works. I remember the day in early 1964 when they flew into New York’s Idlewild (now JFK) airport. I was home from school with the flu, but listening to their progress on a transistor radio, and hearing the song, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, so many times that I could play each Beatles’ part. But more than hearing the pieces, I remember the sheer rush of emotion that washed over me whenever I heard the song begin and the deep sense of wellbeing I felt as the song ended. Their music was an emotional experience for a ten-year-old school boy in Brooklyn. As they evolved through the 1960s, we grew up along with them.

Growing up in Brooklyn I knew many people from other countries and I knew we weren’t alone in the world, but I suppose I saw Europe and Asia as places where people were from, not as a place we were going. Europe was where they tattooed numbers on the arms of old people I saw sitting on Brighton Beach in the summer: the survivors of the Holocaust. Or as my father once told me after one of his many business trips to Europe: “Europe is an overrated old place. New York City is the best place in the world, America is the best country, and my parents were right to leave that place.” I remember reminding him that like most Jews in the early 20th century, they were chased out of Europe, but he correctly focused on the wisdom of their leaving. There wasn’t a lot of sympathy for the “old country” when I was a kid. The point I often heard was that America was the future and nothing interesting could come from someplace else.

But the Beatles were proof that something absolutely spectacular could be grown outside of America. It turned out that the music they made was a global mix of sounds from England, Ireland, the Caribbean, Africa, Germany and America. Later on, they added the sitar and other sounds from Asia. In 1964, the Beatles’ chief musical influences were Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis Presley and even Brooklyn’s own Carol King. But when the Beatles covered American rock ‘n roll hits and started to write their own songs, they brought their personal history and collective memory to the sounds they made and created something new and fresh that had never been heard before.

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[Image courtesy of US National Archives, via Giphy]

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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