Archive for Kofi Annan

Fun facts about IFP

You may have heard about the prestigious International Fellows Program (IFP).  It is highly competitive — only 30 Columbia University students (10 new SIPA students, 10 continuing SIPA students, and 10 Columbia University graduate students)  are selected each year to participate in the program.  Once you are an International fellow, you are a member for life.

To clue you in for those who do not know much about it, we prepared some fun facts about the program…

The IFP is a two-semester seminar open to students of all graduate-degree programs at Columbia University. The diverse perspectives and professional backgrounds that fellows bring to the Program enrich their year-long common enterprise.

All fellows receive a stipend and study a curriculum with two goals – to examine the origins of the current international order, in which the United States has for decades played the leading role, and to look ahead to the new world that will eventually take its place, dominated by a larger number of actors, new problems, and approaches to problem-solving that have yet to be defined. Weekly meetings of the International Fellows Program are supplemented by study trips to Washington, D.C. and the United Nations, where fellows have extraordinary access to senior policymakers, diplomats, legislators, journalists, and leaders of nongovernmental organizations.

  • The International Fellows Program is a year-long, multidisciplinary academic program that invites thirty graduate students from all Columbia graduate programs to consider the United States’ past, present, and future role in global affairs.
  • International Fellows are enrolled in a year-long seminar course called US Role in World Affairs.
  • The Program is centered in Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.
  • Dr. Stephen Sestanovich is the program’s director and course instructor. Dr. Sestanovich has held numerous senior positions in the US government, the think tank world, and academia.
  • Fellows receive a stipend of $3500 for the 2013 -2014 academic year.
  • Over the course of the program, Fellows meet with prominent figures of the international community. Recent IFP cohorts have met with: former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, and many others.
  • Fellows enjoy a fully-funded trip to Washington DC, in which they experience a full day of meetings with the elite of DC, including members of Congress, the National Security Council, top think tanks, and high-level journalists.
  • IFP was established in 1961 and was rejuvenated by Dr. Sestanovich over the past ten years.
  • IFP enjoys strong support from alumni of the program, which includes senior executives in the public and private sectors.
  • This year’s fellows include graduate students from SIPA, Columbia Law School, Columbia Business School, Columbia Journalism School, the Divinity School, and GSAS.

You may apply for the IFP as a SIPA applicant (a separate essay is required when you submit your admissions application); as a continuing SIPA student (there is an internal process that our first year students will hear about at the end of their first semester at SIPA); or as a Columbia University graduate student (application is available online)


The International Fellows Program offers unique opportunities inside and outside of the classroom to explore and engage important international issues of the 20th and 21st century. Focusing on world affairs through the lens of the U.S. has illuminated key interactions between major foreign policy players and offers an interesting vantage point through which to analyze international political developments. In addition to lively class readings, discussions, and debates, our recent meeting with permanent representatives from France, Singapore, Lebanon, and Gabon helped enrich the academic and practical study of diplomacy by providing a forum through which to better understand the issues critical to the US and the world according to these countries. On a personal level, gaining a more nuanced understanding of the day-to-day professional practice of international diplomacy is what drew me to apply to the International Fellows Program, and has been a focal point–and highlight–of the yearlong course thus far. I am especially eager to participate in the IFP annual DC trip held at the end of the semester where the class will meet with prominent practitioners, academics, and legislators regarding our class subject matter. 

-Testimonial by current SIPA student & International Fellow, Jesse Corradi, MIA 2014

Kofi Annan Graduation Speech

Earlier in the week I posted a few photos I took of the SIPA graduation ceremony with my phone.  This is the follow up post I promised now that our media team has had some time to publish information for distribution.  The entire ceremony was captured and can be viewed by clicking here.

Kofi Anna was the graduation speaker and here is his address to the SIPA Class of 2011.

Here are a few more pictures to enjoy as well.  The President of the University, Lee Bollinger, and his wife shared a special moment with their daughter who graduated from the MIA program.

What kinds of friendships can you expect to develop as a SIPA student?  The kind where someone helps you to graduate, even when you cannot make it to the ceremony.  This graduate is holding a gown draped on a hanger with a photo of the missing graduate.

Mr. Annan likely had a sore hand and tired feet at the end of the day – he shook the hand of every graduate and hung out at the reception (with his lovely wife).

A SIPA graduate . . . with a possible future SIPA student.



Graduation 2011

I really enjoyed the 2011 edition of the SIPA graduation ceremony.  After being held inside for several years the ceremony this year was held outside.  Everyone was nervous all week because the weather forecast was foreboding, however the rain held off and and no one had to get wet.

Tents were set up so we were not worried too much about the ceremony itself, but the reception area was not entirely covered.  As it turns out, we had nothing to worry about.  When I took this picture I was standing on the steps of . . .

. . . Low Library . . .

. . . which is where the graduates assembled prior to the ceremony.

Kofi Annan addressed the graduates and we are working on getting his speech on line.  When it is ready it will appear on this blog.

SIPA graduates will return to the main quad for the University Commencement on Wednesday.  Congratulations to the class of 2011!


Academic Calendar

Some recently admitted applicants have been asking questions about the academic calendar.  If you want to see what the next two years are going to look like for the most part all you have to do is click here.  You can view both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 calendars.

Do note that not every single event will be listed.  For example the calendar lists the University graduation ceremonies, but not the SIPA graduation ceremonies.  This year for example SIPA will have its graduation ceremony on May 14th (Kofi Annan will be speaking) and then the main ceremony for all graduates takes place on May 18th.

Some specific events and occasions will be added as time progresses but the calendar as it stands now will give you a firm idea of holidays, breaks, and class start and end dates.  This will allow you to book tickets far, far in advance if you need to for travel and you can let family members and friends know of important dates.

Newly admitted students . . . you will turn your tassel from right to left at the main graduation ceremony on May 22, 2013!  The specific date of the SIPA graduation ceremony will not be released until sometime next year.

SIPA Graduation Speaker – Kofi Annan

The last month of weather we have had makes our graduation in the spring seem far away, but in reality it’s a mere 15 weeks until the class of 2011 walks across stage to pick up their diplomas.  It should be an especially exciting graduation ceremony this year as it was recently announced that Kofi Annan will be the speaker.  The following is the announcement sent out by our Dean, John Coatsworth.


Columbia University tradition holds that all degrees are conferred at the University Commencement ceremony while each school honors its graduates with a separate and unique event. The University Commencement ceremony of the 257th Academic Year will take place on Wednesday, May 18, 2011. The School of International and Public Affairs Graduation ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 2 P.M.

We are pleased to announce that former U.N. Secretary-General and SIPA Global Fellow Kofi A. Annan will be SIPA’s 2011 Graduation speaker. Mr. Annan was the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations, serving two terms from January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2006, and was the first to emerge from the ranks of United Nations staff.

In 2001, Kofi Annan and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace with the citation praising his leadership for “bringing new life to the organization.”

We are also pleased to announce the new tradition of holding SIPA’s Graduation ceremony on Columbia’s South Lawn. Planned in consultation with the SIPA Student Association Board, this year’s ceremony will provide for more than twice as much guest seating as last year. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony.

More information will be coming as the events approach. We look forward to congratulating you this May.

"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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