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Live Coverage: SIPA Diversity Symposium 2015




Starting at noon today we’re live-tweeting SIPA’s Fourth Annual Diversity Symposium, From Protests to Public Policy: Advocating for Positive Change. This year’s program includes speakers in public service and nonprofit sectors:


Participants are also engaging with other SIPA applicants and current students to discuss the importance of a diverse student body in schools of public policy and international affairs. We’ve also set aside time for a panel discussion of current SIPA students, and a discussion by SIPA alumni.

To catch you up on what’s being discussed, check out the posts below and follow the conversation on Twitter using #SIPADiversitySym15.



Alumna shares thoughts at Diversity Symposium


Lybra S. Clemons, MPA '01, and Jessica Taylor, MPA '12 discuss diversity in the workplace during SIPA's Diversity Symposium.

Lybra S. Clemons, MPA ’01, and Jessica Taylor, MPA ’12 discuss diversity in the workplace during SIPA’s Diversity Symposium.

Last Friday, SIPA’s Office of Admissions hosted its 3rd Annual Diversity Symposium, Policies and Principles: Diversity in the Domestic and International Communities. This free symposium allowed prospective students to meet current students and faculty, and to discuss the importance of diverse communities at schools of public policy and international affairs, including at highly sought-after graduate programs like ours.

The symposium began with a fireside chat by Lybra S. Clemons, MPA ’01, the vice president of Diversity and Inclusion at Morgan Stanley, and Jessica Taylor, MPA ’12, the vice president at Goldman Sach’s 10,000 Small Businesses. The speakers shared their thoughts on diversity levels at corporations and SIPA’s commitment to diversity. “At the end of the day, there’s a business case for diversity,” Clemons said. “If you don’t have diversity at the top of the house, it doesn’t matter. You’re not going to have it at the bottom.”

Ultimately, this Symposium shared with prospective students SIPA’s mission to develop world-class leaders who are committed to solving problems in our ever changing world; how SIPA’s increasing the enrollment of domestic, underrepresented students into our advanced degree programs; and how it’s Diversity Task Force is fostering a diversified student body at SIPA that will explore, expand and enhance opportunities to serve local and global communities.

Clemons went on to share why she applied to SIPA back in 1998. “I applied to seven different schools,” Clemons says. “As I started to dig deep, some of the schools that were on my list [weren’t what I exactly wanted].” After graduating from SIPA with an MPA, Clemons became the director of corporate relations at the American Cancer Society, the director of global diversity and inclusion at American Express, among other achievements.

“I was very, very glad to be here. I did not look back, and I was very pleased with the program,” Clemons added. “Everything that I’ve done since graduating from SIPA in 2001 has had some kind of connection  back to Columbia, SIPA…everything.”

Watch what Clemons had to say about the program here: LybraClemonsVideo-Symposium

Did you take your own photos and/or videos of the symposium? Feel free to share them on SIPA’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles!

A Note About SIPA’s Diversity Initiative

While researching SIPA for your graduate studies, you’ve probably noticed that the school is one of the most internationally-diverse institutions at Columbia University. In fact, students in the MIA/MPA 2013 class represent 51 different countries, and speak 41 native languages. Overall, 52 percent of the class is represented by international students! Thus, we truly cherish our diversity and the many unique perspectives our students, faculty, staff and alumni bring to campus.

Reminding us all about the importance of inclusion, Dean Merit E. Janow released a statement about SIPA’s continued efforts to foster a community that is welcoming, respectful of individual and group differences, and representative of our society:

“A focus on diversity is important for all schools, but it is a particular priority for SIPA because the process of designing public policy should reflect consideration for diverse segments of societies,” Dean Janow said in a recent email.

Earlier this year Dean Janow formed a diversity task force to support SIPA’s efforts to build an even stronger culture of inclusiveness. This diversity task force holds regular meetings and student events, including an upcoming Diversity Symposium, on November 14, 2014. Read more about the Diversity Task Force’s efforts and upcoming events here:

Another side of an Ivy League institution

On Friday December 13th, SIPA Admissions Office, in collaboration with SIPA Students of Color, hosted the Second Annual Diversity Symposium. The symposium, “Public Policy: A Global Perspective” attracted prospective applicants from the tri-state area to learn about SIPA’s MIA/ MPA programs and the admissions process.

IMG_0027The Diversity Symposium was created in order to increase domestic student of color applicants at SIPA. Much like every school, said Executive Director of Admissions Grace Han, SIPA has a  “vested interest to recruit, retain and graduate student bodies that come from diverse backgrounds.” By recruiting throughout the NYC metropolitan area, SIPA Admissions was able to attract students from diverse ethnicities, socioeconomic status and experiences. Students who attended the symposium received information about the admissions process, a “how-to” presentation on funding graduate school and became more knowledgeable about SIPA and its community.  Michael Bustamante, who is applying to the MIA program, said, “ [The Symposium] showed a side to an Ivy League institution that I honestly thought didn’t exist-the genuine drive to diversify their student body.” Throughout the day, participants engaged in conversations with current students, administrators, faculty and alumni.

IMG_0062The alumni panel included 6 distinguished professionals who have made strides in their fields. When the alumni were asked what value SIPA added to their career choice, all the alumni spoke highly of the program including the ability to balance their education while exploring career options. SIPA alumnus Dr. Ann Morning, ‘92,  who is now a Professor of Sociology at NYU, talked about her experience as a Statistics T.A. and the community that SIPA cultivated through their TAship program. It was difficult, she said, but SIPA prepared students towards modern professions all while creating ‘heroes” through the degree program.

 IMG_0086Prospective applicants were also engaged in policy discussions on issues ranging from energy “fracking” to health care access. Students were split into teams and asked to discuss possible solutions to prominent problems – all of which have challenging political and social implications. Michael Bustamante describe the round-tables discussions: great, relevant and engaging.  All discussions were led by current second year SIPA students who have sought to answer some of these pressing questions themselves through their SIPA education.

For the prospective students who attended, this is only the beginning of a process that will hopefully result in a successful application to SIPA… and a step closer to making a difference in the global community. For everyone else who missed out – please keep an eye out for future events.

Good luck with those applications!

whether you’re interested in energy or in applying to SIPA, there’s an event for you…

If you haven’t been keeping up with the various SIPA events happening on campus, next week we are hosting two interesting events in New York that prospective students may want to attend so MARK YOUR CALENDARS.

On Monday, November 12 at 1:00pm, the Leaders in Global Energy Lecture Series will present:  “What’s New on Alternative Energy?” with Guillaume Aubert, Partner and Managing Director at Boston Consulting Group.  The presentation will be moderated by Manuel Pinho.   Please register online if you are interested in attending.

Another great event to learn more about SIPA is to attend the Admissions Diversity Symposium on Friday, November 16th from 10am to 2pm.

The Office of Admissions and SIPA Students of Color group will co-host an admissions symposium. SIPA Faculty, students and alumni will highlight unique contributions of students of color to global public policy and discuss potential opportunities for future graduates.   The program will also feature a discussion of admissions and financial aid for those who wish to consider graduate study at SIPA.

Please register for this event by completing the registration form at the bottom of the event link.  Seats are limited.

"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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