Archive for politics

Current Events Roundup, September

We are currently in week four of the Fall 2018 semester, and its already been a busy four weeks for fellow Seeple students. Between the General Assembly this week, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visiting Columbia to speak with Professor Joseph Stiglitz and SIPA’s Director of the Technologies Specialization, Anya Schiffrin, and the “Rise of the Rest” – Entrepreneurship Across America event, there have been plenty of things to discuss and attend.

Below is a roundup of some notable September events:

The UN General Assembly

The UN General Assembly is certainly an eventful time in New York. Aside from the bumper to bumper traffic and multiple street closures that take over Midtown East, it is one of the few instances where there is such a high concentration of world leaders in New York City at once. This is, of course, a significant point of interest for SIPA students, who in addition to taking geographic advantage are able to participate in the many intersections of SIPA and the United Nations, including classes and events. This year, the General Assembly has been an especially notable one, much of the conversations will center around three key issues: the Rohingya crisis, Syria, and the Iran Nuclear Deal. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an implementation of the Paris climate change agreement. Coverage of the UN General Assembly has varied, but a few key moments have stood out, in particular, the President of The United States’ decision to not meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, among other things. Either way, SIPA students have been busy discussing the General Assembly and keeping a close eye as it will continue to be a key topic in classrooms through the semester.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visits Columbia University 

On June 26th, 2018 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became a household name as a Congressional candidate who won the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th Congressional District and beat the incumbent Congressman, Joe Crowley. On September 24th, 2018 she joined Columbia Business School Professor and Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and SIPA’s Director of the Technologies Specialization, Anya Schiffrin at the Roone Arledge Auditorium at the Riverside Church for a discussion panel. Students were able to attend and ask questions. Much of the conversation centered around grassroots efforts and Ocasio-Cortez spoke of an increasingly mobilized progressive base and encouraged students to engage in on-campus activism. She also spoke to the Democratic party’s increasing isolation of marginalized communities. She stated that it was important for Democrats to engage minority voters through a renewed commitment to their communities. SIPA students were also in attendance.

“The Rise of the Rest” – Entrepreneurship Across America 

On September 12th, 2018 Dean Merit E. Janow, Steve Case, and Secretary Jacob J. Lew sat down for a fireside-chat discussion on entrepreneurship in America. Case, Chairman, and CEO of Revolution and the Co-founder of AOL talked about his “Rise of the Rest” initiative to support entrepreneurship across America. Secretary Lew spoke of policy changes to encourage entrepreneurship, improving immigration policies, for example, can promote entrepreneurship given the high percentage of immigrant founders. They also touched on the impact of a healthy economy on the development of ideas — as long as ideas are strong and people are motivated, the health of the economy becomes less important. The fireside chat ended with a discussion on the regulation of online businesses — is it possible to apply the same levels of regulations that are applied to brick and mortar businesses?

5 Brexit questions with Economist Jan Svejnar

From Columbia News, June 24, 2016:

The fallout from Brexit, the British exit from the European Union, was nearly immediate. Every global market sank. British Prime Minister David Cameron resigned. A large U.S. investment bank announced it would move 2,000 jobs out of London to either Dublin or Frankfurt, the credit agency Standard & Poor’s said that the Britain would lose its AAA rating while Moody’s lowered its rating to negative from stable.

More shoes are still to drop, according to Jan Svejnar, the James T. Shotwell Professor of Global Political Economy at the School of International and Public Affairs. While he knew the vote would be close, he believed that Britons would ultimately stay. He was surprised the leave vote was as strong as it was, 52 percent to 48 percent.

The repercussions will be significant. “I think we are seeing the unraveling of Great Britain,” he said. Scotland, which two years ago voted no on an independence referendum, will probably opt for a new one. Northern Ireland could do the same. “We may be going from Great Britain to small England.”

Here, Svejnar answers five questions about what will happen now that Britain is withdrawing from the EU.

Q. What happens next?

A. We are already seeing the first impacts, the gyrations in the stock markets and foreign exchange markets. I think that may continue for a while. Next will come a first round of tough political decisions. German chancellor Angela Merkel will be getting together with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and French president Francois Hollande to prepare a statement and stake out their approach to the British decision.

Q. What kind of approach might that be?

A. They have to negotiate a separation, which won’t be easy. If it is done too fast and too vigorously, it could alienate other EU nations, who may insist the rest of the 25 members should have been consulted rather than having a particular solution designed by the leaders of only those three countries shoved down their throats. There are free trade policies and immigration pacts and a swath of EU regulations that must be unraveled or replaced. The EU won’t want to make it easy for Britain to leave, they don’t want this to set a precedent for other countries.

Q. What kind of economic fallout do you foresee?

A. There are two years to negotiate the exit, unless markets destabilize to such an extent that they can’t afford to take that long. All the agreements between the EU and Britain must be renegotiated. There may be a substantial relocation of capital from Britain. London could lose its status as a global hub of finance, and I’ve already heard that some banks are looking to move their headquarters.

Q. How does this affect the rest of Europe, or the world?

A. Britain is now the second largest economy in the EU, and the most outward oriented. There is a chance that Europe itself gets destabilized, because now other governments may ask for exceptions and exemptions from EU regulations. If that happens, Europe may not look to be as friendly a place to invest in, and investors may look to other parts of the world. Also, other nations will be cautious about raising interest rates, to make sure there is no economic contagion.

Q. Is there any chance that this can be reversed?

A. In principle, yes. It takes a vote of Parliament for the decision to become final. Parliament could conceivably go against the referendum, but the vote was 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent. It would be hard for it to say this was just a joke. Given that David Cameron has already resigned, I don’t see that this can be stopped.

[Photo by Bruce Gilbert]

Interview with SIPA MPA candidate, Danielle Schlanger

Danielle Schlanger

Name: Danielle Schlanger
Degree: MPA
Concentration: Urban and Social Policy
Specialization: International media, advocacy, and communication

Danielle is a second-year SIPA student pursuing an MPA degree with a concentration in Urban and Social Policy. During her time at SIPA, Danielle has written for The Morningside Post, the school’s newspaper, and has interned for CNBC in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. This summer, she worked in the Huffington Post’s politics bureau in Washington, D.C. Before enrolling at SIPA, Danielle worked at the New York County District Attorney’s Office as a paralegal in the office’s Public Integrity Unit. She graduated with a degree in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University in 2010.

What did you do before coming to SIPA?

I graduated college in 2010, so I was one of the younger members of the class of 2014. After graduating from college, I worked as a paralegal at the New York County District Attorney’s Office in lower Manhattan. As an undergraduate I thought I wanted to become a prosecutor, but after working at the DA’s office I realized public policy and journalism was a better fit for me.

What attracted you to SIPA?

I was drawn to SIPA for two reasons: the location and the flexibility in the curriculum. As an aspiring journalist, I wanted to be in New York City for graduate school. There is an enormous media market here, and being able to intern while taking classes was important to me. I worked at CNBC during my first semester at SIPA, and I hope to freelance for some of the City’s papers during my second-year. SIPA also allowed me to combine my interest in public policy and journalism pretty seamlessly–the IMAC curriculum is fantastic.

What kind of work do you hope to do when you graduate?

Following graduation, I hope to work as a writer for a print/online news outlet covering domestic politics. Working at the Huffington Post this summer reaffirmed this for me–I couldn’t have had a better experience working in their Politics bureau.   My experience at SIPA has really equipped me to better understand some of the most pressing issues facing society today, and how policymakers are able to work with the public to form solutions.


Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime

In April authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann visited to speak to at a joint SIPA/School of Journalism event about their best-selling book, Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime. The discussion was moderated by Columbia University’s Alan Brinkley and co-hosted by SIPA and the Graduate School of Journalism. You can watch the discussion below:

International Conference in Paris

I have been dominating the blog lately and I thought all of you might like a break from all application, all the time posts.  The following is information contributed by Kristoffer Tangri, a second-year SIPA student from Germany pursuing a MIA degree with a concentration in International Security Policy.


Six SIPA students will be participating at a high level international conference on the politics and economics of the international financial system. The conference takes place on the 7th and 8th of January in Paris. Accommodation and travel costs will be fully covered by the French Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National identity and Solidarity Development through SIPA’s partner school at Sciences Po Paris.

Programme and Speakers (subject to change)

1st Round Table: “Have we tackled well the crisis?” (Thursday 7 January, 10h30-13h)

Christine Lagarde, Minister of Economy and Finance (France)
Giulio Tremonti, Minister of Economy and Finance (Italy)
Jean Paul Fitoussi, Economist, President, OFCE
Jean Claude Trichet, President, ECB
Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Executive Director, CEDEAO
Anders Borg, Minister of Finance (Sweden)
Lubna Olayan, Chief of Enterprise

2nd Round Table: “New world, new governance” (Thursday 7 January, 15h-17h30)

Jacques Attali, Economist, Consultant
Howard Davies, Director, London School of Economics
Taib Fassi-Fihri, Minister of Foreign Affairs (Morocco)
Joseph Stiglitz, Economist, Nobel Prize winner 2001
Celso Amorim, Minister of Foreign Affairs (Brazil)
Bozidan Djelic, Deputy President Minister and Minister of European Affairs (Serbia)
Jean-Pierre Jouyet, Director, AMF
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General, World Bank

3rd Round Table: “After the crisis: Should we change our vision of the world?” (Friday 8 January, 9h-11h30)

Helen Alexander, President, Patronal Syndicate, CBI (UK)
Pascal Lamy, Secretary General, World Trade Organization
Alain Minc, Director of Enterprise, Consultant
Michel Rocard, Former Prime Minister (France)
Jeffrey Sachs, Economist, Advisor to Secretary General of the UNO
Amartya Sen, Economist, Nobel Prize winner, 2006
Gamal Mubarak, Assistant Secretary General, National Democratic Party (Egypt)
Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland, President, IIDE

"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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