Author Archive for Columbia SIPA – Page 2

Twitter Executive Speaks About Public Policy Work in Tech Sector

Maryam Mujica, who leads Twitter’s public policy efforts in New York, visited SIPA on February 7 for a discussion with students about the online network’s role in the current geopolitical climate.

The event was hosted by SIPA’s student-run Digital and Cyber Group.

In her remarks Mujica addressed a variety of issues, including the role of NGO and nonprofit messaging in the Trump era and the role of public policy at Twitter. She also discussed the network’s potential for social impact and its role as a social forum for people to rally and as a tool for governments to communicate with their citizens.

Highlighting the role of her public policy team’s in such initiatives, Mujica said that—while the team is mostly advisory—it plays hugely important roles in working with the government and in advancing Twitter’s efforts toward global transparency.

The company is also working to support digital diplomacy: Over 90 percent of world leaders, she said, use the service. Twitter has proven to be an important tool during emergencies and disaster relief, enabling leaders to communicate instantly with their people and disseminate critical information during an emergency situation.

Twitter is working actively, Mujica said, to counter violent extremism on the platform.

Asked about the fine line between ensuring safety and freedom of expression, Mujica said that the service’s rules strictly prohibit hateful conduct. As a matter of fact, she added, Twitter had just earlier that day rolled out many new safety features to help customers feel safe and to see only the content they wish.

Participating MPA and MIA students enjoyed the insider’s account of what public policy work in the technology industry really entails.

Mujica also offered career advice for students who aspire to join the field, suggesting that successful candidates will be able to demonstrate to the hiring manager their passion and enthusiasm for a company and its products.

— Daniel Boccio MIA ’18

Tech and Policy Initiative pursues cutting-edge activities

What does policymaking look like in the 21st century? Now in its third year, SIPA’s Tech and Policy Initiative tries to answer that question by pursuing a variety of cutting-edge activities in the areas of cybersecurity, Internet governance, digital economy, and civic tech.

Professors and scholars like Jason Healey, Laura DeNardis, Hollie Russon Gilman, Eli Noam, and Dean Merit E. Janow are helping SIPA lead a lively—and ongoing—conversation around these issues. So is Research Fellow Hugo Zylberberg, who joined SIPA in fall 2016 to coordinate the Initiative.

The Tech and Policy Initiative launched in 2014 with critical support from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Since that time, SIPA has acted as a convener, using its position at Columbia and in New York City to engage young scholars and tenure-track professors and working to bridge the gap between policymakers, business leaders, and academics. In 2016, SIPA published its first Tech and Policy Working Paper Series, aggregating the work commissioned over the initiative’s first two years. Carnegie Corporation of New York has renewed its support for the initiative for two more years, beginning in January 2017, enabling SIPA to further consolidate and institutionalize its efforts.

“We created the Tech and Policy initiative because each of the core fields we engage at SIPA is being transformed by digital technology,” said Dean Merit E. Janow. “Our students are already seizing the policy, research and entrepreneurial opportunities created by digital technology, and we believe SIPA’s research on complex geopolitical and economic challenges must include consideration of digital policy developments around the world.”

Adding another important dimension to the Initiative, SIPA has received a grant from the Nasdaq Educational Foundation to support new initiatives in entrepreneurship and public policy. The series of initiatives funded by the grant will emphasize entrepreneurship and innovation stemming from both information and communications technology (ICT) and digital technology, along with their intersection with public policy globally. Programming began in fall 2016 and will last for three years through spring 2019.

Among major events planned for the spring semester are visits by Toomas Ilves, former president of Estonia, a collaboration with Sidewalk Labs on tech and governance, and a new series of “Uptown Cyber Dialogues,” which aim to convene cyber talent across New York City around action-oriented discussions. A major conference on the geopolitical consequences of Internet fragmentation will take place at Columbia on May 5, while another planned conference will revisit the state of the field of cyber conflict.

Interest in tech and policy topics has continued to increase at SIPA and throughout Columbia’s campus. In the last two years, SIPA has added classes that deal with cyber issues and seen the formation of student clubs such as the Digital and Cyber Group at SIPA. The School has also intensified its collaboration with the law, business, engineering and journalism schools in this area.

“Ten to fifteen years ago, no one was talking about cyber conflict. Now nearly every newspaper—not just in their technology sections but on the front page—is talking about cybersecurity on a weekly basis.” said Healey, a senior research scholar at SIPA. “The field is unique because it is so fast moving… We want SIPA to be a big player and positioned as an expert in this field.”

The grant also allows SIPA to bring on research fellows like Gilman, Healey and Zylberberg.

“Tech and policy isn’t just about international security. It can be just as meaningful to students studying economic governance, trade, development or human rights,” said Zylberberg. “We want to help make those connections.”

Ginger Whitesell MPA ’17 contributed to this story.

SIPA welcomes outgoing Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew as Visiting Professor

We wanted to make sure you heard the exciting news that Jacob J. Lew, the outgoing U.S. treasury secretary, will join our faculty as a visiting professor on Feb. 1, 2017.

Lew will lecture, teach graduate students, and work with faculty members at SIPA and Columbia University on the subjects of international economics, fiscal and trade policy, and a range of other public policy issues. (Perhaps, the best part of his appointment is that he’ll be on campus during the 2017 Fall semester, too!)

Secretary Lew has led the Treasury Department since 2013, having taken office as the U.S. economy was struggling to regain its footing after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. He helped lead the U.S. economy to its current foundation of economic growth and declining unemployment.

“SIPA is at the forefront of tackling critical policy challenges facing the global community,” said Lew. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to share my experience with talented young people who aspire to engage in the world of public policy and international affairs.”

We hope you will take advantage of Lew’s expertise as a Seeple next year! Get a jump start and finish your application today. Just remember that the Fall 2017 application deadline is Feb. 5, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. EST (UTC-5).

[Photo, L-R: Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and 44th U.S. President Barack Obama]

Are you Jewish? Do you live in Chicago? Then this scholarship is for you.

Educational scholarship funds from grants administered by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago are available for Jewish college and graduate students. Approximately $500,000 is available each year for full-time students, predominantly those legally domiciled in the metropolitan Chicago area, with career promise in their chosen fields. Assistance is available primarily for those with FINANCIAL NEED who are pursuing careers in the helping professions. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $8,000.

JVS Chicago processes academic scholarship applications from eligible students who have financial needs that cannot fully be met by other appropriate resources. Please complete the correct forms according to your status.

The deadline to apply for a scholarship for the 2017-2018 academic year is February 1, 2017. 

If you have any questions or would like more information, please call the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago at 312-673-3444 or email at

You are eligible to apply if you:

  • Are Jewish
  • Were born and raised in Chicago metropolitan area*, including Lake County, Indiana; OR one continuous year of full-time employment in the Chicago metro area prior to enrollment
  • Intend to remain in the Chicago metropolitan area after completing school
  • Are entering an accredited graduate program in a helping profession on a full-time basis for the full 2017-2018 academic year OR
  • Are entering your junior or senior years of an accredited bachelor’s degree program in a helping profession on a full-time basis for the full 2017-2018 academic year
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Demonstrate career promise
  • Are available for an in-person interview between March 1 and April 20, 2017

*Chicago metropolitan area includes Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties.

Learn more at

4 new faculty join SIPA this spring

SIPA has 70 full-time faculty and more than 300 professional practitioners, visiting scholars, and adjuncts who love sharing their expertise with our students. We’re pleased to share we’ve added a few more names to the roster for the Spring 2017 term. Here’s a look at who will be joining us in January.

karla-hoffKarla Hoff, a Lead Economist at the World Bank, will serve as Visiting Professor and co-teach an undergraduate Economics Senior Seminar and a SIPA course on behavioral economics with Professor Joseph Stiglitz. She served as Codirector of the World Bank’s World Development Report 2015, and much of her work focuses on using the tools of economics to study social interactions. She earned her BA in French from Wellesley College and a PhD in economics from Princeton University.

Ronaldo Lemosronaldo-lemos, co-founder and Director of the Institute for Technology & Society of Rio de Janeiro, will be appointed the Edward Larocque Tinker Visiting Professor at SIPA and the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS). He will teach a new course, “Tech Policy and Culture in the Developing World: Living on the Edge.” He also will be engaged with SIPA’s Tech and Policy Initiative. Professor Lemos currently serves as a Professor of Law & Innovation at Rio de Janeiro State University and was a leading architect of Brazil’s path-setting rights for the Internet, including freedom of speech, privacy and net neutrality. He earned a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School and a Doctor of Laws from the University of Sao Paulo Law School.

Augusto de la Torreaugusto-de-la-torre is Chief Economist for Latin America at the World Bank. He will be an Adjunct Professor at SIPA and will teach a course on financial development in emerging economies. Prior to joining the World Bank, he served as President of Ecuador’s Central Bank and as an International Monetary Fund economist. He earned his MA and PhD in Economics from the University of Notre Dame.

pierre-vimontPierre Vimont, former ambassador of France to the United States, will be an Adjunct Professor in spring 2017 and teach a course on diplomacy in the European Union, focusing major contemporary issues, including Brexit and international migration. His visit has been arranged by Columbia’s European Institute (EI), and he will participate in special events arranged by EI. Ambassador Vimont has had a distinguished career in public service in the French government, including service as ambassador to the European Union and chief of staff for three French foreign ministers. He holds a permanent title of Ambassador of France.

"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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