Archive for Merit E. Janow

Our global community reacts to the U.S. Presidential Elections

The morning after the United States elected its 45th president Seeples were full of emotions concerning the future of, well, just about everything. The Republic didn’t elect the person many of them thought would come out on top. And it seemed the results of this year’s election would have a resounding impact on them, more so than in other elections.

To help students process their feelings, both positive and negative, SIPA Dean Merit E. Janow and Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger issued separate statements regarding the results of the U.S. Presidential Elections. Here’s what they had to say on Wednesday:

Dear SIPA students, faculty and staff,

Yesterday’s U.S. Presidential election has left me and many in our community with great uncertainty and concern about what the results mean for each of us and a host of important public policies in the United States and globally.

While we have a number of events already planned at SIPA in the coming weeks to discuss the elections, we will convene a conversation tomorrow, Thursday, November 10, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. in Room 1512 of the International Affairs Building. Although I am returning from University business in China and am unable to attend, I have invited several faculty members to share their thoughts about the election and its implications for policy. I welcome you to join in this session, which will include an open microphone for those in attendance. You may find additional information below.

As always, please know that the Office of Student Affairs and its advising deans are available to meet with students individually about these or any other issues, and can also provide information to you on available University resources should you need them.

Sincerely yours,
Merit E. Janow
Dean, School of International and Public Affairs
Professor of Practice, International Economic Law and International Affairs

The discussion is closed to members of the SIPA community. I’ll be there on Thursday and will share any highlights with all of you on the blog. To continue the conversation, you’re all invited to the first Diversity Spotlight Series event, either in-person or on Facebook Live, Monday, Nov. 14.


Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am writing because of concerns for our community arising out of yesterday’s national election.  Certainly, not in my lifetime has there been a choice that is embraced by so many while also causing feelings of apprehension and vulnerability among so many others, including many students, faculty, and staff across our diverse University community.

There are three primary challenges for the country and, more importantly for purposes of this letter, for our community. The first is that those in distress have the right opportunities to raise and discuss whatever anxieties they are feeling now. I will be personally engaged in this dialogue, and I strongly urge you to seek out the discussions and meetings being planned throughout the University by all schools and departments. The second is that we not let different viewpoints about this election, strong as the feelings on every side might be, descend into intolerance or intimidation. This requires strong intellectual character on all our parts. And the third point is that we all have to make sure that we are able to continue on with the work of scholarship and teaching, which is not only our central mission but ultimately the best answer to overcoming divisions and even the risk, feared by many, that our principles may be violated.

In these moments, we must turn to our fundamental values, among them a commitment to freedom of thought and expression, dedication to tolerance and reason, respect for diversity and differing points of view, and a determination to do what we do with the utmost integrity and courage.

Lee C. Bollinger

As Dean Janow’s statement mentions, SIPA will host a series of special lectures in the coming weeks, all centered around the implications of the election results. These events were previously planned (no matter who won), and I’ll share more details as the public events approach.

In the meantime, if you want to know just what Seeples were thinking the day before the elections, review this video by SIPA’s student-run newspaper, The Morningside Post.

There’s also this Facebook post, in which, after reflecting on last night’s election results, Thomas C. Guerra, MPA ’17 and President of the SIPA Student Association, reminded his classmates on Facebook the importance of leveraging the policy school as a key asset in educating tomorrow’s leaders and enhancing his peers’ abilities to shape the future in a positive way.

After reflecting on last night's election results, Thomas Guerra, MPA '17, reminded his classmates on Facebook the important role policy schools have in educating tomorrow's leaders and his peers abilities to shape the future in a positive way.

And here are some recent tweets mentioning our professors in the news sharing their opinions on the outcome.

Summer Reading

You will find many distinguished authors among the SIPA faculty.  Here are just a few books written by SIPA professors.  Many of these Professors have written several books, but I just wanted to give you a taste of the breadth of scholarship here at the SIP.  (All book descriptions are abridged from

Richard K. Betts is the Arnold A. Saltzman Professor of War and Peace Studies in the political science department, Director of the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, and Director of the International Security Policy program in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He was Director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations for four years and is now an adjunct Senior Fellow there.

Book Description: Combining academic research with personal experience, Betts outlines strategies for better intelligence gathering and assessment. He describes how fixing one malfunction can create another; in what ways expertise can be both a vital tool and a source of error and misjudgment; the pitfalls of always striving for accuracy in intelligence, which in some cases can render it worthless; the danger, though unavoidable, of “politicizing” intelligence; and the issue of secrecy—when it is excessive, when it is insufficient, and how limiting privacy can in fact protect civil liberties.


Kenneth Prewitt is the Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs and the Vice-President for Global Centers. He taught Political Science at the University of Chicago from 1965-1982, and for shorter stints was on the faculty of Stanford University, Washington University, the University of Nairobi, Makerere University and the Graduate Faculty at the New School University (where he was also Dean). Prewitt’s professional career also includes, Director of the United States Census Bureau.

He is currently completing Counting the Races of America: Do We Still Need To? Do We Still Want To?  (Nancy’s note: He has not published this one yet. I included this because I contributed some research for it.  We’ll see if it actually makes it in! If you have the chance, definitely take a class with Prof. Prewitt.)

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.

Book Description: 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.

Merit E. Janow Merit E. Janow is an internationally recognized expert in international trade and investment, with extensive experience in academia, government, international organizations and business and incoming SIPA Dean.  For the past 18 years, Merit E. Janow has been a Professor of Practice at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and affiliated faculty at Columbia Law School. Currently she is Director of the International Finance and Economic Policy concentration at SIPA, Co-Director of the APEC Study Center, and Chair of the Faculty Oversight Committee of Columbia’s Global Center East Asia. Previously, she was Director of the Masters Program in International Affairs and Chair of Columbia University’s Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing. While at Columbia University, Professor Janow was elected in December 2003 for a four year term as one of the seven Members of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body, which is the court of final appeal for adjudicating trade disputes between the 153 member nations of the WTO.

From 1997 to 2000, Professor Janow served as the Executive Director of the first international antitrust advisory committee of the U.S. Department of Justice that reported to the Attorney General and the Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust.

Book Description: This volume brings together essays by world-renown leaders in the field of international trade examining the operation of the WTO and its dispute settlement system. The experts who have contributed to this book include policy makers, scholars, lawyers and diplomats. Two major areas of inquiry are undertaken. The first half of this volume examines the governance and operation of the WTO and the international trading system. It pays particular attention to issues that affect developing country Members of the WTO. The second half of this volume contains a detailed examination of the performance, operation, and challenges of the WTO’s dispute settlement system.

Dipali Mukhopadhyay joined the SIPA faculty as an assistant professor in July 2012.  She studies modern state formation in conflict and post-conflict settings.  Her research interests lie, in particular, with the challenges weak political centers face as they attempt to grow their authority in the midst of formidable competitors. She is currently finishing a forthcoming book manuscript with Cambridge University Press entitled Warlords, Strongman Governors and State Building in Afghanistan.  She has been conducting research in eastern and northern Afghanistan, as well as Kabul, since 2007 and made her first trip to the country  for a project with the Aga Khan Development Network in 2004. Her book, Warlords As Bureaucrats, is forthcoming


Book Description: Afghanistan’s weak central government and limited resources make the informal networks employed by local warlords a viable option for governance. The country’s former warlords, made powerful governors by President Hamid Karzai, use both formal and informal powers to achieve security objectives and deliver development in their provinces. Based on substantial in-country research and interviews, Dipali Mukhopadhyay examines the performance of two such governors, Atta Mohammed Noor and Gul Agha Sherzai, who govern the northern province of Balkh, and the eastern province of Nangarhar, respectively.

Ester R. Fuchs is Professor of Public Affairs and Political Science and Director of the Urban and Social Policy Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.  She served as Special Advisor to the Mayor for Governance and Strategic Planning under New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg from 2001 to 2005. Prof. Fuchs was chair of the Urban Studies Program at Barnard and Columbia Colleges and founding director of the Columbia University Center for Urban Research and Policy.  Prof. Fuchs recently received the Distinguished Alumna Award from Queens College; Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs Award for Outstanding Teaching; and NYC’s Excellence in Technology Award for Best IT Collaboration among Agencies for Access New York.


Book Description: Chicago and New York share similar backgrounds but have had strikingly different fates. Tracing their fortunes from the 1930s to the present day, Ester R. Fuchs examines key policy decisions which have influenced the political structures of these cities and guided them into, or clear of, periods of economic crisis.

Lincoln Mitchell is an Associate at the Harriman Institute and an Affiliate at the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.  Prior to joining the Harriman Institute, Mitchell was Arnold A. Saltzman Assistant Professor in the Practice of International Politics at Columbia University.  In addition to serving as Chief of Party for the National Democratic Institute in Georgia from 2002-2004, he has worked on political development issues in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.  Mitchell also worked for years as a political consultant in New York City advising and managing domestic political campaigns.


Book Description: In November of 2003, a stolen election in the former Soviet republic of Georgia led to protests and the eventual resignation of President Eduard Shevardnadze. Shevardnadze was replaced by a democratically elected government led by President Mikheil Saakashvili, who pledged to rebuild Georgia, orient it toward the West, and develop a European-style democracy. Known as the Rose Revolution, this early twenty-first-century democratic movement was only one of the so-called color revolutions (Orange in Ukraine, Tulip in Kyrgyzstan, and Cedar in Lebanon). What made democratic revolution in Georgia thrive when so many similar movements in the early part of the decade dissolved?


Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals, having held the same position under former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He is Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He is co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, and is director of the Millennium Villages Project. Sachs is also one of the Secretary-General’s MDG Advocates, and a Commissioner of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Development.

 Book Description: The last great campaign of John F. Kennedy’s life was not the battle for reelection he did not live to wage, but the struggle for a sustainable peace with the Soviet Union. To Move the World recalls the extraordinary days from October 1962 to September 1963, when JFK marshaled the power of oratory and his remarkable political skills to establish more peaceful relations with the Soviet Union and a dramatic slowdown in the proliferation of nuclear arms.Jeffrey D. Sachs shows how Kennedy emerged from the Missile crisis with the determination and prodigious skills to forge a new and less threatening direction for the world. Together, he and Khrushchev would pull the world away from the nuclear precipice, charting a path for future peacemakers to follow.

Liza Featherstone is the author of Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers’ Rights at Wal-Mart (Basic Books, 2004), which was praised by publications ranging from the New York Review of Books to Bitch magazine. Since that book’s publication, she has continued to write about Wal-Mart’s employment practices.  Featherstone is also a co-author of Students Against Sweatshops (Verso, 2002).She has been a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economic Journalism at Columbia University, as well as a Hoover Institution Media Fellow.Featherstone, has written for Slate, Salon, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review, Babble, Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, The American Prospect,, New Labor Forum and many other publications.  She is best known for her work in The Nation magazine, where she is a contributing writer.


Book Description: In 2000, Betty Dukes, a fifty-two-year-old black woman in Pittsburg, California, became the lead plaintiff in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, a class action, representing 1.6 million women. In her explosive investigation of this historic lawsuit, journalist Liza Featherstone reveals how Wal-Mart, a self-styled “family-oriented,” Christian company: Deprives women (but not men) of the training they need to advance. Relegates women to lower-paying jobs like selling baby clothes, reserving the more lucrative positions for men. Inflicts punitive demotions on employees who object to discrimination. Exploits Asian women in its sweatshops in Saipan, a U.S. commonwealth. Featherstone goes on to reveal the creative solutions that Wal-Mart workers around the country have found, like fighting for unions, living-wage ordinances, and childcare options.

Steven Cohen is the Executive Director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and a Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He is also Director of the Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science. Dr. Cohen served as a policy analyst in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 1977 through 1978 and 1980-81, and as consultant to the agency from 1981 through 1991, from 1994 to 1996 and from 2005 to 2010. From 2001 to 2004, he served on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology. He serves on the Board of Directors of Homes for the Homeless.

Book Description: Can we grow our world economy and create opportunities for the poor while keeping the planet intact? Can we maintain our vibrant, dynamic lifestyles while ensuring the Earth stays productive and viable? Aimed at managers, students, scholars, and policymakers, Sustainability Management answers these questions in the affirmative, arguing it is possible for environmentally sustainable business practices and policies to foster economic and long-term growth.





A new Dean of SIPA has been appointed

Professor Merit E. Janow has been appointed Dean of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs effective July 1, 2013.

Merit’s strength as a scholar and her deep experience with international public policy make her ideally suited to lead SIPA, the most global school of public affairs in the United States and, perhaps, the world.  A member of Columbia’s faculty since 1994, Merit’s expertise in international trade and investment policy, along with her time spent in Asia and her fluency in Japanese, have allowed her to make significant academic contributions while continuing to play a leading role in national and international institutions.  Merit has had three periods of public service in her career.  Most recently, she has been a member of the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body, which is responsible for adjudicating appeals in intergovernmental trade disputes.

Currently, Merit directs SIPA’s International Finance and Economic Policy (IFEP) concentration, is a co-director of Columbia’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Study Center, and is a member of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute.  She teaches both at SIPA and at Columbia Law School.

Read more about the appointment here.


"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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