Archive for News

MPA – Development Practice Incubator

The MPA-Development Practice program will be turning 10 next year, and the new MPA-DP Incubator page highlights entrepreneurial enterprises that alumni have founded and fostered since graduating.

Organizations are located all around the world and focus on a variety of issues, from supporting Latin American female tech talent to bringing affordable childhood care and education to low-income communities in East Africa.

The MPA-DP program prepares students for a career where companies are becoming more complex and increasingly inclusive of all countries and societies. Check back in to the Incubator page as new organizations are still being added. And if you’re interested in being part of the diverse, interdisciplinary cohort that makes up our innovative MPA-DP program, read more about it here.

Friday Roundup: Admitted Students’ Day, Alumni Day, and SIPA Faculty

We’ve been busy talking to so many fantastic students these past few weeks, past, current and future! Graduation for the SIPA Class of 2018 is coming up in a few weeks, and it’s bittersweet for us to watch the students we’ve known since they attended their first info session, graduate and go off into the world. On the other side, we’ve talked to many of our newly admitted students as they figure out what life at SIPA will be like. We’ll be giving some peeks into student life next week on the blog. Until then, here’s what we’ve been up to at SIPA:

It’s been 10 days since Admitted Students’ Day, our annual open house for the new MIA, MPA, and MPA-DP incoming class. We welcomed the SIPA Class of 2020 to campus for the day, allowing them to get a feel for the vibrant and busy SIPA community.

This past weekend was Alumni Day, where past students reunited for informative panels and to catch up. Clockwise from the top left is the SIPA Class of 2008, Class of 2013, Class of 1998, Class of 1993 – two classes celebrating their 20- and 25-year anniversaries! The years our alumni spent here as current students led to lifetime bonds around the world.

Finally, we’re giving a huge congratulations to economist Richard Clarida, who was nominated as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, the second-ranking position in the United States’ central banking system.

We’re excited to see the SIPA community grow in so many diverse directions. Wishing you all a great weekend!

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.

Read the rest on HuffingtonPost.com.

[Image courtesy of US National Archives, via Giphy]

Columbia University to open Center for Veteran Transition and Integration

Earlier this month, Columbia University announced the creation of a new Center for Veteran Transition and Integration that will provide innovative educational programming and support for veterans making the transition to two- and four-year colleges, graduate and professional schools, civilian life, and the workforce.

Major Michael Abrams, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and a current Marine Corps Reservist, as well as the founder of FourBlock, a program to prepare veterans for business careers, will lead the center as its executive director. Beth Morgan, former executive director of Service to School and director of higher education initiatives for the Marine Corps, joins the center as director of higher education transition and partnerships.

The Center for Veterans will open in the fall of 2017.

Columbia’s long-standing commitment to veterans can be traced back to 1947, when the School of General Studies was founded to integrate into the University community thousands of returning military veterans seeking education after World War II through the first GI Bill. Today more than 650 veterans are enrolled at Columbia, most of them supported by the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program. The University has enrolled more student-veterans than all other Ivy League schools combined, while maintaining a graduation rate above 90 percent and a record of job and graduate school placement that equals Columbia’s non-veteran graduates. Highlighting this success, this year’s valedictorian at the School of General Studies is Colin Valentini, a Marine Corps veteran who came to Columbia to study applied mathematics.

Columbia’s successful efforts in helping military service members make the transition to a rigorous academic environment has prompted interest from other universities, employers, government agencies, and veteran-support organizations across the country that would like to replicate its veteran support model.

The new veteran’s center will draw on Columbia’s expertise in curriculum development, instructional technology, and support services in facilitating veterans’ success in an academic setting. In collaboration with a network of public and private partners, the center will provide access to world-class technology and technical support. It will serve military service members at all levels, enlisted and officers, as well as active-duty military personnel preparing for transition, veterans already in higher education, and veterans in the workforce, providing them with the best-in-class resources that they need to ensure their continued academic and professional development. The experience and expertise that Abrams and Morgan bring to this endeavor will be integral in achieving the Center’s vision.

Read more about the Center at Columbia News.

Highlights from the 2016-17 academic year

A lot happened at SIPA this year that our incoming Fall 2017 Seeples may need to know about prior to joining the program in September. We welcomed some amazing new faculty and community leaders to campus, created capstone projects with institutions in more than 38 countries, celebrated our 70th anniversary, and added to our summer reading lists with new books by SIPA authors, among other activities.

As told by Dean Merit Janow, here’s a look at what happened with our Seeples during the 2016-17 academic year.

New and Visiting Faculty

We were delighted to welcome some truly exceptional faculty to SIPA this past academic year. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew joined us as a Visiting Professor starting in February 2017.  This spring he taught a very popular short course on leadership and international economic policy and will teach an expanded version in the fall.

Visiting faculty included Israeli historian Shlomo Ben Ami, who served as the McGovern Professor in the Fall of 2016, and delivered the McGovern lecture on the subject of The Politics of Conflict – the Mideast and Beyond; and Ronaldo Lemos, co-founder and Director of the Institute for Technology & Society of Rio de Janeiro, taught a new course, “Tech Policy and Culture in the Developing World: Living on the Edge.”

Among our new full-time faculty members, Rodrigo Soares, a Brazilian economist, joined us as the inaugural Lemann Professor of Brazilian Public Policy; and Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, a specialist in U.S. political economy and the politics of organized interests, joined us as assistant professor of international and public affairs.

Capstones and Courses

SIPA’s capstone program is the largest and most diverse of any public policy school. This year SIPA students participated in 63 capstone and 18 EPD workshops, working with institutions in the public, private and non-profit sectors in more than 38 countries.  The projects ranged from cybersecurity and ICT for development to sustainable finance and refugee workforce integration. (You may view a full list here.)

I invite you to watch two brief videos about capstone projects this year that addressed issues of social conflict and the mining industry in Peru, and a new digital medical “library” in the Dominican Republic. (They can be found here.)

The SIPA curriculum also covers a wide range of critical public policy issues as well as many other important fields. In 2016-17, we added 45 courses in areas such as environmental finance, the Panama papers, gender armed conflict, forced migration, macro-prudential policy, China and India, and tech, policy and culture in the developing world. A full list with descriptions is available on the SIPA website.

Student Teaching Award

Each year our students and faculty receive numerous awards for their achievements. One University award that bears mention is the one given to PhD student Jason Chun Yu Wong who was a recipient of the 2017 Presidential Award for Graduate Students. This is a highly selective award given to only three graduate students each year from across the University who demonstrate a commitment to excellent and innovative teaching, as recognized by the Columbia community.  Please join me in congratulating him.

A Convening Hub for Leaders

As is the case every year at SIPA, we welcomed literally hundreds of high-profile speakers and leaders to campus to share their views and interact with students and faculty. This year featured a particularly diverse and accomplished roster. A few highlights by month:

  • On September 21st SIPA hosted the first-ever “Transatlantic Citizens Dialogue” featuring Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner, speaking about Tax Avoidance and Privacy in the Digital Age.  A live audience in Milan, Italy was connected to SIPA via a video link.
  • On October 26th, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon delivered the Gabriel Silver Memorial Lecture on “Turmoil, Transition, and Opportunity: The United Nations in a Changing World.”
  • On November 15th, George Osborne, former Chancellor of the Exchequer for the United Kingdom, spoke on “Brexit, the U.S. Elections, and the Global Economy.”
  • On December 5th, Emmanuel Macron, the recently elected President of France, shared his thoughts on “Re-forging Transatlantic Bonds.”
  • Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former President of Estonia, delivered a keynote address and participated in a panel discussion on March 2nd with SIPA and Columbia faculty on the subject, “Russia and Cyber – The Way Forward.”
  • On April 17th, Stanley Fischer, Federal Reserve Vice Chair, delivered the inaugural lecture on central banking, and on April 24th Urjit Patel, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, delivered the 3rd Kotak Family Lecture on India’s economy.
  • On May 5th Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Inc. headlined the 2017 Global Digital Futures Forum, an annual conference with more than 25 expert speakers organized by SIPA’s Tech and Policy Initiative, with a focus this year on digital technology, fragmentation of the internet, and globalization.

SIPA Center Activities

Our SIPA Centers continued to undertake cutting edge research and host major events in areas such as global energy policy, global economic governance, economic development, war and peace studies, and the Indian economy.

Some noteworthy activities include the Center on Global Energy Policy’s annual Columbia Global Energy Summit, which took place on April 13th, and the Center for Development Economics and Policy’s Clyde Wu Visiting Fellows Program. On October 13th the Saltzman Institute convened the National Security Scholars Conference featuring Deborah Lee James, U.S. Secretary of the Air Force and SIPA alumna (MIA ’81).  The Center on Global Economic Governance hosted major conferences in Brazil and China as part of its “Strategies for Growth: The Changing Role of the State” initiative.  And the Deepak and Neera Raj Center on Indian Economic Policies sponsored a one-day conference on Trade Issues Today on October 3rd, 2016.

Explore the Center websites for even more programming as the new academic year begins.

SIPA’s 70th Anniversary

Many of you participated in our 70th anniversary events and activities throughout the year. It ended with a 70th Celebration Weekend from March 30th to April 2nd, during which we had the largest gathering of SIPA alumni in the School’s history, a terrific all-day SIPA Forum on substantive policy issues, and the Global Leadership Awards Gala – attended by more than 700 guests.

Below are a few links to the weekend’s activities:

The 70th anniversary fundraising efforts helped us achieve an important outcome by generating $1.2 million in new student financial aid and creating 80 new student fellowships.

New Books by SIPA Authors – Great Summer Reading!

Lastly, SIPA faculty published a number of new books this year. These include Guillermo Calvo’s Macroeconomics in Times of Liquidity Crises (2016, MIT Press); Daniel Corstange’s The Price of a Vote in the Middle East (2016, Cambridge University Press); Robert Jervis’ How Statesmen Think: The Psychology of International Politics (2017, Princeton University Press); and Sara Tjossem’s Fostering Internationalism through Marine Science (2017, Springer).

"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

Boiler Image