Archive for MPA-DP

SIPA’S SDG Fellows Team Win 2018 Geneva Challenge!

Do you remember a few weeks ago I wrote, in this blog post here, about how SIPA’s SDG Fellows team (Alonso Flores MPA-EPD ’19, Nigora Isamiddinova MPA-DP ’19, Jessica Arnold MIA ’19, Nitasha Nair MPA ’19, and Ji Qi MPA-DP ’19) made it to the finals of the 2018 Geneva Challenge? Well I am very happy to say that they won first place!

SIPA’s classroom provides an opportunity for you to meet other classmates with various interests and skill sets and collaborate on projects that address some of the worlds’ most pressing and complex issues. Sometimes those collaborations in classroom can lead to solutions implemented out in the real world. The Geneva Challenge is one of the many opportunities at SIPA where students can implement what you learn in the classroom in the real world.

The SIPA team, DASH – Data Analytics for Sustainable Herding, aims to map and analyze the changes in migration patterns, seasonality, and urban and agricultural development using data from satellites, mobile telecommunications, and GPS- enabled systems. It will create a blueprint for utilizing big data and applying machine learning and AI for better policy-making in the in the Sahel region, where competition for increasingly scarce natural resources is driving a rise in conflicts between pastoralists and farmers.

In the award ceremony, the jury explained their decision to award the SSDG Fellows team first place: “The jury believes that this is an excellent and innovative solution. The proposal is well researched and authors a detailed and accurate contextualization. The real-time forecasting model using big data analytics and artificial intelligence techniques is a very ambitious tool to develop that could indeed have a wide and positive impact on the region. The project is also well thought out in terms of needs assessment, risk analysis, and implementation. The team has already taken further steps by having discussions with relevant government agencies by assessing institutional frameworks through laboratory projects.”

The Geneva Challenge, launched in 2014, is an international contest for graduate students that aims to find innovative and pragmatic solutions to a designated international development problem. This year, there were 66 project entries submitted by 258 students from all over the world. Of those projects, 15 teams were chosen as semi-finalists. A jury then selected five finalist teams, one per continent, to defend their project at the the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. Other prize winners this year included teams from BRAC University, ETH Zürich, Kenyatta University, and the University of Buenos Aires.

You can learn more about the MPA-Development Practice program that the SDG Fellows team is a part of here. Don’t forget that the January 5 deadline to apply for MPA-DP, MIA and MPA programs is coming up!

Meeting Africa’s funding gap to meet the SDGs and how an MDP student is part of this ambitious objective

Africa faces an annual funding gap of $1.3 trillion if it is to meet the SDGs by 2030. MPA-DP student Ji Qi traveled to Kigali, Rwanda, as part of the program’s summer placement, to work at The Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa and look at how development banks can improve their performance against international best practices and benchmarks to contribute to the achievement of the #SDGs in the continent. In his own words “I’m really glad to be part of this ambitious continent-wide initiative which can help turn the development banks into the true driving force behind Africa’s sustainable development.”

 

MPA-DP Summer Placement in Hanoi, Vietnam

Nausher Khan MPA-DP ’19 shares his Summer Field Placement experience in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Over the course of the summer, I along with my MPA-DP colleague, Claire Thibault worked with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Hanoi as part of the inaugural Columbia World Project (CWP). The CWP is titled ACToday: Adapting agriculture to climate today for tomorrow and is a collaboration between the International Research Institute at Columbia University and strategic partners in 6 countries. The project is operational in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Senegal, Colombia and Guatemala and is scheduled to run for 5 years commencing in 2018. The CWP is mandated with working with the relevant national governments and civil society organisations to enhance their capacity in adapting their food systems to the changing climate.

These countries have been chosen as they are predominantly agriculture based economies which are severely vulnerable to climate change. Vietnam is the third largest producer of coffee and second largest producer of rice in the world, however due to its placement proximal to the south China sea, it has experienced a proliferation of extreme weather events over the preceding decade. Additionally, due to the global sea level rise, the Mekong delta in the south of Vietnam is subject to saline intrusion, rendering rice paddies situated on the river bed, extremely unproductive. A pattern of increased rains and typhoons in the north of the country, and drier and hotter summers in the South is posing a current and impending threat to the agricultural productivity of the country. Thus, ACToday is partnering with the ministry of natural resources and environment, ministry of agriculture and rural development, and with international organizations such as CIAT in Vietnam to build their adaptive and mitigative capabilities. The project aims to help the local government incorporate accurate Climate change projections and data into the development of their agricultural plans and setting of their food system priorities.

Over this summer, the MPA-DP student team working in Vietnam worked to conduct an extensive stakeholder analysis and needs assessment of the climate information services value chain. We were tasked with identifying the organisations and processes responsible for the production of climate information, the translation of that information into agricultural advisories, and the dissemination channels by which this information was reaching the farmers. This initial scoping will lay the foundation for the succeeding initiatives that will be established under the ambit of the ACToday program. Similar work was carried out in the remaining CWP countries and now as the strategic operations have been formalized In the respective countries, the project will enter the second phase and work in a localized manner to achieve the end goal of increased food security through a sustainable food system.

In addition to the conduction of the climate information service value chain analysis, I had the opportunity to document the experience in an audio-visual format. The purpose of this documentation would be to develop a short audio-visual case study to be used as a teaching aid for the students of Food systems in the coming years. This documentary followed the novel format of student-led filmmaking, primarily using an Iphone to record field experiences, day-day life and expert interviews. It will go to show the impact of climate change on Vietnamese agriculture, and capture the experience of working within the mandate of the CWP in Vietnam.

What will your Capstone Workshop look like?

Here at the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, we’ve kept busy by preparing for a new admissions cycle. Now that it’s August, the SIPA application will be opening soon. Make sure you’re signed up on our mailing list so you can get notified when the application goes live.

As usual, we’ll be posting application tips and advice to the blog throughout the admissions process. One piece of advice we can give for any program is to be specific in your personal statement, and about why you want to not just attend graduate school, but this particular program. For some, this means researching each program’s curricula.

A signature of the SIPA curriculum is the Capstone Workshop. Small teams of students work on these consulting projects, where they apply the theory they learn in the classroom to real-world issues. What can your Capstone look like? You can check out the full list here, and below, Julia Tumasz (MPA-DP ’19) and John Rouse (MPA-DP ’18) went on New York’s MetroFocus to talk about their Private Rainforest Reserves capstone case study film.

Check out the full interview here.

We covered this capstone about clean cooking in Uganda in this post. Here’s the Spring 2018 team that worked on it, along with a (beautiful) writeup on their project.

If you’re preparing to apply to SIPA to start in Spring or Fall of 2019 and want to see certain content on this blog that hasn’t been covered, be sure to reach out and let us know! Submit An Idea by clicking the link at the top or shoot us an email.

 

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.

"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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