Archive for news

SIPA’S SDG Fellows Team are Geneva Challenge Finalists!

Congrats to 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) who have advanced to the finals of the 2018 Geneva Challenge. Their project, 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 under deep uncertainty.

Launched in 2014, the Advancing Development Goals International Students Contest, or more commonly known as the Geneva Challenge, is an international contest for graduate students that aims to find innovative and pragmatic solutions to a designated international development problem. Every year five finalist teams, one from each continent, is invited to an oral presentation in Geneva where they defend their solutions to a jury and the public. This year the subject is climate change.

SIPA students have a history of partaking in the Geneva Challenge. Previously, a team of recent SIPA graduates (Olga Abilova MIA ’15, David Braha MIA ’15, Isabela Cunha MIA ’15, and Jessica Dalton, a master’s degree candidate at Columbia’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights) were selected as finalists for the 2015 Geneva Challenge on migration.

Wish Alonso, Nigora, Jessica, Nitasha, and Ji luck as they defend their project on November 27!

A full plate next week


MONDAY, MARCH 31, 2014

2014 Human Rights Essay Contest Colloquium
12:00 pm to 1:45 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 1302
Presentations by participants in ISHR’s 2014 Human Rights Essay Contest. Each presentation will be followed by Q&A and discussion with students, faculty, and other members of the Columbia University community. Refreshments will be served. Please RSVP.
Sponsor: Institute for the Study of Human Rights

Briefing on Dean’s Public Policy Challenge Grant
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 1501
A briefing for students interesting in applying for the SIPA Dean’s Challenge Grant, hosted by Dean Merit E. Janow, Dean, School of International and Public Affairs; Professor, Practice of International Economic Law and International Affairs.
Sponsor: School of International and Public Affairs

SUMASA Sustainability Symposium: If You Lead, Will They Follow?
1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Casa Italiana
Speakers: Kevin Joseph Bernard, Co-Founder, New York Oyster Week; Satyajit Bose, Lecturer in the Discipline of Economics and Continuing Education, School of Continuing Education, Columbia UniversityTravis Bradford, Director, Energy and Environment Concentration, School of International and Public Affairs, Associate Professor of Professional Practice, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University; Aaron Chan, MSSM Degree Candidate, Columbia University; Jessica Cooper, Project Manager and Sustainability Director, Delos Cooper LLC; Dana Gulley, Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator, RiverKeeper; Upmanu Lall, Director, Columbia Water Center, the The Earth Institute, Columbia University, Senior Research Scientist, International Research Institute for Climate and Society, the The Earth Institute, Columbia University, Alan and Carol Silberstein Professor, Earth and Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, Engineering Mechanics, Columbia University; Guido Molinari, Chief Executive Officer, Divino; Jessica Prata, Assistant Vice President, Office of Environmental Stewardship, Lecturer, School of Continuing Education, Columbia University; Shruthi Rao, Managing Consultant, Adapt Ready; George Sarrinikolaou, Director, Office of Academic and Research Programs, The Earth Institute, Lecturer, School of Continuing Education, Columbia University; Josh Treuhaft, Analyst: Foresight and Innovation, Arup; Lynnette Widder, Principal and Co-founder of aardvarchitecture, Lecturer, School of Continuing Education, Columbia University
Sponsor: The Student Association for Columbia University’s Master of Science in Sustainability Management

Alec Ross: Geopolitics of Cyber with Anya Schiffrin
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 1512
A lecture series with Alec Ross, former Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and Anya Schiffrin, Director, International Media, Communications, and Advocacy Specialization.
Sponsor: School of International and Public Affairs, International Media, Communications, and Advocacy Specialization

China and the Environment: A Conversation
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 918
A Panel Discussion with Isabel N. Hilton, Editor, Chinadialogue; Micah S. Muscolino, Associate Professor, Department of History, Georgetown University; Peter C. Perdue, Professor, Department of History, Yale University. Moderated by Eugenia Lean, Associate Professor of Chinese History, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University. No registration required.
Sponsor: Weatherhead East Asian Institute

Are Israel’s Policies Justified in Light of the Security Issues it Faces?
7:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Barnard College Diana Center, Event Oval
A debate on Israel’s policies.
Sponsor: Columbia International Relations Council and Association



Beijing’s March Westward: Eurasian Energy Pipelines and China
All Day Event
International Affairs Building, Room 1501
Join the Harriman Institute for it’s 8th annual conference, part of the colloquia series, entitled “Eurasian Pipelines – Road to Peace, Development and Interdependencies.”
Sponsor: Harriman Institute

Beyond Open Data: Leveraging Information and Collaboration to Illuminate Trends in Cambodia and Across the Lower Mekong Region
1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 801
Terry Parnell, East-West Management Institute – Open Development Cambodia, will discuss her recent paper on open data, leveraging information and collaboration to illuminate development trends in Cambodia and the Mekong Region.
Sponsor Economic and Political Development Concentration

Sustainable Electronics and the Bottom Line
6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Columbia University Club of New York 15 West 43 Street
An expert panel will discuss sustainability issues surrounding conflict minerals, labor conditions and e-waste, as well as illustrate business cases for electronics companies leading the way in sustainable practices. The discussion will also highlight business opportunities to close the gap in achieving an ethical electronics life cycle.
Sponsor: Sustainable Business Committee, Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York

SIPA Dean’s Roundtable on Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Urban Innovation
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 1501
A roundtable discussing the application of digital technology and advanced data analytics to foster improvements to urban environments around the world. The event will be hosted by Dean Merit E. Janow of SIPA and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Joe Lonsdale, the co-founder of Palantir and founder of Addepar, among other companies. Panelists include Daniel Doctoroff, CEO and President of Bloomberg LLP and former Deputy Mayor of New York City; Jeffrey Sachs, Director, The The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management; James D. Robinson III, co-founder, RRE Ventures and former CEO, American Express; Patricia Culligan, Professor of Civil Engineering Mechanics, Associate Director, Institute for Data Science and Engineering, and Co-Director, The The Earth Institute’s Urban Design Lab; Carter Cleveland, CEO of Artsy; Zachary Bookman, co-founder and CEO of OpenGov; Rohit Aggarwala, Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs at SIPA and an expert on urban sustainability.
Sponsor: School of International and Public Affairs

Economic Challenges of the Political Transition in Chile
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 707
Talk and discussion with Ricardo French-Davis, Professor of Economics at the University of Chile.
Sponsor: Economic and Political Development Concentration

Conviction, Conflict, Community: A Conversation with George Rupp
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Carnegie Council
170 East 64th Street
A conversation with George Rupp, senior fellow at Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs; adjunct Professor of religion, public health, and international affairs at Columbia University; founding principal of NEXT: Network for Executive Transition.
Sponsor: Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs



The Role of Technology and the Coast Guard in a Constrained Budget Environment
12:15 pm to 2:00 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 1302
Part of the Military Technology Series with Captain Charles Cashin, Coast Guard Military Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations.
Sponsor: Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies

Post-Fukushima Energy Policy of Japan: Role of Nuclear Power
12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 1501
Discussion with Nobuo Tanaka, Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy, and former Executive Director, International Energy Agency.
Sponsor: Center on Global Energy Policy

Vitor Gaspar
2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 1512
Vitor Gaspar, Portugal’s former Finance Minister and architect of the country’s €78bn bailout plan.
Sponsor: Center on Global Economic Governance

The Earth Institute Practicum in Innovative Sustainability Leadership: Standards and Metrics for Sustainability
6:10 pm to 7:00 pm
Columbia University, Morningside Campus, Havemeyer Hall, Room 209

Speaker: Cynthia Cummis, Deputy Director, GHG Protocol, World Resources Institute
Sponsor: The Earth Institute

Expanding the Frontiers of Development Thought
6:15 pm to 8:00 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 1501
Join David Malone, Rector of the United Nations University, and José Antonio Ocampo, Professor and Director of Economic and Political Development concentration, for a discussion on expanding the frontiers of development thought.
Sponsor: Economic and Political Development Concentration

Mali One Year On: Building An Enduring Peace Through Stabilization, Reform, and Development
6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 1302
Discussion with David Gressly, Deputy Representative of UN Mission in Mali, moderated by Dipali Mukhopadhyay, Assistant Professor, Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia SIPA. Sponsor: ICR Specialization and Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University.

More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall is Obsolete
6:45 pm to 8:15 pm
Miller Theater
A debate about online education.
Sponsor: The Richman Center, Intelligence Squared



The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and the Politics of Attention in Cold War America
12:00 pm to 1:45 pm
Pulitzer Hall, Room 601B
A talk by Fred Turner, Associate Professor of Communication and Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Stanford University. Introduction by Richard John, Professor of Communications and History, Columbia University. Sponsored by the Blinken European Institute and the Communications Ph.D. program at the Columbia Journalism School.
Sponsor: Blinken European Institute

The Evolution of Submarine Warfare and Technology
12:15 pm to 2:00 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 1302
The Comparative Defense Studies Program presents the Military Technology Series: Number 11 with Andrea Gilli, Visiting Scholar, Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, and Associate Fellow, European Union Institute for Security Studies.
Sponsor: Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies

Mega Treaties on International Trade and Investment: The Public Policy Implications of the TPP and T-TIP
3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Uris Hall, Room 142
A panel discussion with Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute; Thea Lee, Deputy Chief of Staff, AFL-CIO; and Peter Petri, Carl Shaprio Professor of International Finance, Brandeis University. Moderated by Lise Johnson, Senior Legal Researcher, Investment Law and Policy, Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment.
Sponsor: Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment

Development Workshop: Edward Miguel
4:15 pm to 5:45 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 1101
As part of Columbia University’s Spring 2014 Development Workshop,Ted Miguel, Oxfam Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics at the University of California, Berkeley will present his recent work.
Sponsor: Center for Development Economics and Policy

Why Nations Succeed: The Social, Economic and Legal Building Blocks for Success
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 1501
Expert scholars discuss the challenges of poverty and violence and how to tackle these issues and build successful nations.
Sponsor: Center on Global Economic Governance

Book Talk: Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism by Wolfgang Streeck
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 707
A panel with Wolfgang Streeck, author and Director, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies; Adam Tooze, Professor of History, Yale University; Katharina Pistor, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School; Bruce Kogut, Professor Leadership and Ethics, Columbia Business School.
Sponsor: Blinken European Institute

Spring 2014 Conflict Resolution Alumni Career Panel and Mixer
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Grace Dodge Hall, Rooms 177 and 179
Speakers: Various
Sponsor: The Earth Institute


FRIDAY, APRIL 04, 2014

Poetry and Translation: A Conversation with Grzegorz Wróblewski and Piotr Gwiazda
4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
International Affairs Building, Room 1219
A poetry reading by Grzegorz Wróblewski. Wróblewski will read in Polish from his new book Kopenhaga. The reading will be followed by a discussion about poetry and translation with Anna Frajlich, Senior Lecturer, Columbia University.
Sponsor: East Central European Center

Summer Reading – Part 8

A few more incoming students have passed along content for summer reading/following.  If you are an incoming student and you want your information published see here for details.  If you want to find all the Summer Reading entries, simply type “Summer Reading” in the Search bar over in the right hand menu and they will all be on one page.

Stephanie Chang (Incoming MIA)


Chris Planicka (Incoming MPA-DP)


Juan Manuel Rodilla (Incoming MIA)

Blog:  A blog (In Spanish) containing different development approaches: Rural Participatory Appraisal, Right-Based Approach, Power studies, Gender, etc. The project of the blog was developed by me for the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the approaches, tools and study-cases are developed by different researchers. Maybe could be interesting for other SIPA students who speak Spanish –

Emmania Rodriguez (Incoming MPA)


Social Media and Social Movements: Al Jazeera English Comes to Columbia

Current students do a good job of sending along blog content for posting, but I fell a little behind in the past month or so due to all of the updates related to admission decisions.  Erisha Suwal sent along the following post in February. Has it really been that long since the last snow on our campus?  (see the 50 second mark in the intro to the video below).  Thank you Erisha.


Social media especially Youtube, Facebook and twitter and mobile network (SMS) have been instrumental in organizing successful protests for regime change first in Tunisia and then in Egypt so much so that governments in those countries shut down the Internet during the height of the protest.  About 5.3 billion people have mobile subscriptions worldwide. Seventy percent of this population resides in the developing world.  SMS has become a major means of organizing. According to the Foreign Policy, during the June 2009 uprising of the Green Movement in Iran, activists used every possible “technological coordinating tool” to protest the miscount of votes for Mir Hossein Mousavi but were ultimately brought to heel by a violent crackdown. In January 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlined how the United States would promote Internet freedom abroad. She emphasized several kinds of freedom, including the freedom to access information (such as the ability to use Wikipedia and Google inside Iran).

Events in Tunisia and Egypt illustrate that censorship to limit information flow and maintain authoritarian control is difficult if not impossible in present time. A fundamental way in which social media has changed the landscape of communication and organizing is by making people the source of information and not the conventional institutions.

However, Internet and social media is a double-edged sword.  While it facilitates freedom of speech it can also be used by authoritarian regimes for surveillance. For example: members of the youth groups and individuals like Wael Ghonim, who set up Facebook pages calling for protests, were arrested and jailed. Similarly, the Chinese government continues to harass bloggers, the famous one being Hu Jia. Security is a major concern Also, In Tunisia, reports that the government had phished user passwords for Facebook and Gmail emerged in December, while in the United States, Facebook has been used by creditors to track down people with outstanding debt.

Taking this cutting edge topic of social media and social movement, a panel titled “Information Wars” was organized by Columbia Journalism School and Al Jazeera English (AJE) on Friday February 11th when everyone was tuned into news channels about the celebrations following Mubarak’s fall. AJE host Marwan Bishara moderated the panel that featured Emily Bell, director of Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism; Carl Bernstein, of Woodward and Bernstein fame; Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman; Evgeny Morozov, author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom; and Clay Shirky, author of author of Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age.  It was aired on AJE’s show Empire. Many SIPA students attended the event to get the latest on the impacts of new trends in journalism on international relations and policymaking.  It was a lively discussion that not only analyzed what was going on, but also predicted social media’s new role and influence.

Current Events at SIPA

Here are just a few of the exciting events that have recently been broadcast to our students.

February 18: Anthony Dowd, chief of staff for former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, will deliver a lecture entitled “The Dukes of Moral Hazard: The Trust Banks, their Bailout, and the Volcker Rule.”

February 25: David Miller, chief investment officer for the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will deliver SIPA’s Investcorp lecture.

February 25: Information Overload? Navigating the Age of Democratized Media, a conference hosted by SIPA’s student-run blog The Morningside Post.

Speakers include: Robert Fishman, Vadim Lavrusik, Emily Bell, Carne Ross, Gabriel Escobar, Anas Qtiesh, Anne Nelson, and more.

March 2: SIPA’s United Nations Studies Program hosts Michelle Bachelet, executive director of UN Women and former president of Chile, at a celebration of International Women’s Day.

"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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