Archive for research – Page 2

Journal of International Affairs

The following entry was contributed by Homa Hassan.  Homa is a first-year student at SIPA and you can read her biography here.  There are plenty of extracurricular opportunities for SIPA students to get involved in and one such opportunity is with the Journal of International Affairs.  Homa elaborates on her experience as both an Editorial and Digital Assistant.


SIPA students are always looking for ways to get involved on campus.  There is a mix of activities to take part in – there are the organizations that have to do with your particular studies, the ones that deal with your personal interests, the ones with tradition and prestige, and the ones that introduce you to new fields and new friends.

One of the projects that links new students to old and all students to alumni and global leaders is Columbia University’s Journal of International Affairs.  Two volumes are produced each year comprised of essays, interviews, and book reviews written by prominent scholars of foreign policy and international affairs.  The Andrew Wellington Cordier Essay contest also gives students the opportunity to have their original works published.  The theme of each volume is decided on by SIPA students on the JIA Board.  Our latest theme was on Innovating Development, with essays ranging from nuclear power and sustainable development to climate change technology and gender revolutions.

There are a number of different ways to get involved with the Journal as a first year student, including serving as an Editorial Assistant, Production Assistant, and/or a Digital Assistant.  No experience is necessary and training is provided for each of the positions at the beginning of the semester.  I served as both an Editorial Assistant and a Digital Assistant.  Editorial Assistants have a demanding job.  We don’t just copy edit, which of course is important, but the bigger task is to fact-check.  Editorial Assistants are the first defense on the line protecting the publication’s reputation.

To begin with, each of us was given a brief summary of all of the articles and asked to rank them in the order of our interest.  A few days later, we were assigned 2-3 pages in one of the essays and paired with a Lead Editor who oversaw our work.  For our assigned pages, every line had to be checked and re-checked and verified by two or more sources (online or in print) to ensure the information is accurate and well-supported by substantial evidence.  Any links in the article were tracked and also verified.  The work is intense, but one of the most important processes of publishing the Journal.

The Production Assistants work with the layout of the publication, placing the content onto the pages, formatting and designing them to be aesthetically appealing, and finalizing the essays before they are sent out for production.  When the publication is finally out, the Board hosts something akin to a release party.  This year, it was a nice break from studying for final exams to listen to the speakers’ panel and join the celebrations at the subsequent reception with food, drinks, and live jazz music.  The JIA Board also hosted an end-of-semester happy hour to thank all of the SIPA students who helped out.

Digital Assistants continue to work throughout the year.  One of the large projects JIA has right now is uploading all previous issues of the Journal to the JIA website.  This means sorting through PDF versions of old issues and uploading the content to the website so that they are accessible to the general public.  The nice part about being a Digital Assistant was that I could go into the publication room between classes or after work and get my work done independently.  Having worked on the production and editorial side of journalism in the past, I welcomed learning new skills by working on the digital side of things.  I also now know the ins and outs of the publication online (great resource for classes!).

Working for the Journal of International Affairs has been challenging, but one of the most rewarding ways to get involved at SIPA.  Its fluid structure allows you to try new things and advance with commitment.  And years from now, your work is still an integral part of SIPA’s library.  Working on the Journal allows you to hit the ground running and seamlessly integrates you into life at SIPA.

Center for the Study of Human Rights

One of the hallmarks of SIPA is the large number of institutes, centers, and programs that reflect both the research interests of the faculty and the issues faced by today’s policymakers.  We recently reached out to the Center for the Study of Human Rights and asked them to provide a snippet of what is available through their center.  Enjoy!

Center for the Study of Human Rights
91 Claremont Avenue, 7th Floor Tower

The Center for the Study of Human Rights, which has been a focal point for human rights activities on campus for almost 30 years, is a major partner and resource for the academic work of SIPA students. The close cooperation between the Center and the SIPA program has fostered new and old synergies, which continue to benefit SIPA students as well as the University at large.

Opportunities and services that CSHR offers to SIPA students include:

Human Rights Events

Throughout the year, CSHR organizes and co-sponsors a number of human rights events on campus. Examples of events held in 2009 include:

•    CSHR’s annual welcome reception
•    SIPA brown bag lectures given by CSHR’s Human Rights Advocates.
•    Lecture series on: Indigenous Peoples’ Issues: International Perspectives & Global Challenges
•    Towards Sustainable Peace in Darfur
•    Creating a World without Poverty – Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient
•    Lunch & Discussion with 2008 Human Rights Watch Human Rights Defender Awardees
•    The Battle of Ideas Still Rages: Attacks on Academic Freedom in the 21st Century
•    Combating Torture – Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment

Events Calendar
CSHR publishes a calendar of all human rights events on the University’s campus. This calendar can be found at:

Information on Human Rights Internships and Job Opportunities

CSHR sends out a regular email to inform students of human rights opportunities. To be included on this listserve, please email with “subscribe cshralum” in the title.  Please include your full name and the email address you wish to subscribe.

Work Study Opportunities

CSHR hires approximately 6 students each semester as work studies. If you are work-study eligible and are interested in working with us, please email a resume and cover letter to with “work-study” and your name in the email subject.

Human Rights Advocates Program

Each year, grassroots human rights advocates participate in CSHR’s Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP). HRAP’s comprehensive program of advocacy, networking, skills-building, and academic coursework provides advocates the opportunity to hone practical skills, develop a deeper understanding of human rights, and foster mutually beneficial relationships with influential organizations and individuals in their respective fields.

As part of this program, Advocates audit SIPA and other Columbia University courses, speak at events organized by SIPA student groups, and participate in the annual Human Rights Concentrators’ Retreat. In the past, many SIPA students have formed collaborative professional relationships with the Advocates. For example, SIPA students often complete summer internships at the Advocates’ host organizations.

Quote from a recent graduate:
“Meeting John Caulker, one of the Advocates of 2007, was in all respects a life-altering experience. Having met a few times for coffee, we soon realized we had many interests in common. I had more academic experience in some areas, whereas John had an amazing practical experience, implementing human rights work in West Africa.

He opened my eyes to his native Sierra Leone and invited me to work with him there. This was what eventually led to me founding an organization working with peacebuilding in the country and today our organizations are partnering in our work. In short, the Advocates Program offers invaluable possibilities not only for those visiting Columbia from abroad, but certainly also for us students.”

– Jakob Lund, SIPA student, MIA 2009

SIPA Faculty in the News

When speaking with prospective students I often highlight the fact that those they are learning from at SIPA are both well educated and have solid policy experience.  What better way to learn about the inner workings of the policy world than from those who have lived and continue to be connected to the policy world?

meritjanow80x94_000A perfect example is the recent appointment of SIPA professor Merit Janow to the international advisory board of the China Investment Corporation, the country’s $200 billion sovereign-wealth fund. The newly established board has 14 members, and comprises economists, investors and former government officials from the United States, Europe and Asia.  Professor Janow formerly served as a member of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization while teaching at SIPA as well.  You can read about Professor Janow on her SIPA bio page and can research other SIPA faculty via the faculty directory page.

gary_sickAnother faculty member that has been in the news recently is Professor Gary Sick.  Professor Sick was the National Security Council expert on Iran in the Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations.  He comments in multiple publications and outlets on the disputed re-election of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Here are a few links to interviews with Professor Sick:  PBS, NPR, Council on Foreign Relations.

swatidesai80x94 And making some of our own news, SIPA is pleased to welcome Swati Desai as Associate Professor of Practice.  Desai served in a variety of positions with the City of New York’s Human Resources Administration, most recently as Executive Deputy Commissioner of Evaluation and Research. She has previously taught at Fordham University, New York University and Long Island University; and her research interests include management analysis, performance management, and health and labor economics.

Columbia University Launches Global Centers in Amman and Beijing in March 2009

The first two Columbia Global Centers in Beijing, China and Amman, Jordan will be officially launched on March 20 and March 23, 2009. The centers are expected to strengthen Columbia’s academic partnerships and programs in the region, encourage collaboration across academic disciplines at Columbia, and offer opportunities for on-site research to faculty, for firsthand experience to students, for engagement with regional alumni and prospective students.

Some of the research and scholarly initiatives will be regionally focused; others will involve multiple centers, and in some instances the full complement of centers will be engaged across many continents. The University plans six to eight Global Centers when the program is completed.

Please visit this website for complete details on events in Beijing on March 20 and in Amman on March 23.

"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

Boiler Image