Archive for sipa news

SIPA Fun Facts

Think you know everything about Columbia’s esteemed School of International and Public Affairs? So did we, until we decided to compile a list of fun facts about our beloved graduate institution. Here are some things we bet you didn’t know about SIPA and its storied history.

  • SIPA was originally named the School of International Affairs.
  • For the first SIPA class, the admissions requirements included “a distinctly superior undergraduate record and a better-than-average performance on the Graduate Record Examination.”
  • In its first year, SIPA tuition was $600 a year.
  • Max Abramowitz, the designer  Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center and oversaw the design of the United Nations, was the architect for the SIPA building still used today.
  • The [International Affairs] building was dedicated on October 21, 1971. But not everyone was happy about SIPA’s new home; its construction led to the demolition of a row of brownstones inhabited by 300 tenants.
  • The Masters of Public Administration program was established in 1977.
  • In 1981, the school decided to officially change its name to the School of International and Public Affairs.
  • In 1992, the program in Economic Policy Management (PEPM) was created.
  • Following the 9/11 attacks, SIPA faculty and students organized campus-wide programs to help with the recovery effort, including coordinating volunteer translators and garnering support for affected families.
  • Today, the school has approximately 1,100 students, 18,000 alumni living in 155 different countries, and almost 70 faculty members.
  • The current student age ranges from 20 to 55.
  • More than half of the student body is comprised of international students, hailing from 95 different countries.
  • Two of the nation’s most high-profile mayors are SIPA alumni. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio graduated in 1987, while his Los Angeles counterpart Eric Garcetti graduated from the program in 1995.
  • Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins teaches a class on public policy for MIA/MPA students.
  • Madeleine Albright received a certificate from SIPA in 1968.
  • Today, job titles of SIPA alumni include the Wall Street Journal’s Moscow Bureau Chief, the Director of International Strategy at Twitter, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, the Executive Director for the Michigan ACLU, and the Minister for Finance in Mongolia.
where it all began

Where it all began: SIPA Class of 1948



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.


TEDx Columbia SIPA = cool

TEDxColumbiaSIPA is a locally-organized, student-led event designed to spark authentic, impassioned, and open-minded dialogue in our community.  Drawing from both TEDx’s mission of “Ideas Worth Spreading” and SIPA’s focus on addressing challenges around the globe, the event will be organized under the theme of “A Better World.”

TEDxColumbiaSIPA will be held on Friday, February 15th, 2013 at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in New York City.  Speakers include Joel Klein, VP, NewsCorp & former Chancellor of NYC Dept. of Education, Leila Makarechi, COO, MicroClinic International & SIPA alumna, Yvonne Macpherson, Executive Director, BBC Media Action USA, Joseph Stiglitz, Professor at Columbia University & Nobel Prize- winning Economist, Adam Scher, Captain, US Army & current SIPA student, Andrew Rasiej, Founder, Personal Democracy Forum, Paul Krugman, Professor at Princeton University & Nobel Prize-winning Economist, Victor Casanova & Michael Craft, filmmakers, Route2Happiness & SIPA alumni, PigPen Theatre Co., award-winning actors and musicians, and many more…

Unfortunately, the event is sold out — to be expected with fascinating topics and a high-level roster of speakers… But the good news is that the event will be live-streamed so you can catch it online in your pajamas at: 


SIPA News – Non-State Actors

The latest issue of SIPA News is now available.  The magazine is published twice per year and features articles written by students and faculty at SIPA.   Incoming students will have the opportunity to contribute ideas and content for future issues.  Information on how to do so will be communicated in the coming months.

The topic for this issue is Non-State Actors.  The following is part of the introduction written by Dean Coatsworth:

“Non-state actors” are nongovernmental organizations that participate in the public arena but do so with goals, policies, structures, and leaders that are not directly determined by governments. They are almost always “political” in the broad sense that they seek to substitute for or supplement public policies they deem ineffective, challenge and reshape policies they wish to change, or make use of publicly defined spaces to promote a cause or secure a benefit. Non-state actors include local NGOs and international corporations, trade unions and trade associations, banks that are too big to fail, and opposition groups too small to survive. Non-state actors do not exist in a stateless vacuum. Their activities are often regulated, encouraged, or suppressed by the power of governments. Taken together, nonetheless, they constitute an emerging global civil society of immense complexity and influence.

Some of the articles in this issue include:

  • WikiLeaks and Westphalia
  • Awakening India’s Young Voters
  • Twitter Revolutions? Old and New Media in the Middle East and North Africa
  • New York Education Nonprofits Create Synergies for Success
  • Business and the State: A New University Challenges the Status Quo in Russia
  • Egypt’s Youth on the Frontline of the Revolution

The full magazine is available for viewing as a PDF by clicking here.  All previous issues of SIPA News can also be viewed on line by clicking here.

SIPA News: Science and Technology

The latest issue of SIPA News is now available.  The magazine is published twice per year and features articles written by students and faculty at SIPA.  The topic for this issue is science and technology and the following are just a few of the articles:

  • Video Advocacy for Human Rights
  • How the 21st Century Became Green
  • “This Domain Has Been Disabled”: U.S. Online Service Providers and Their Role in Intermediary Censorship
  • Blogging in Burma:  Cyber-Dissidents Fight for Freedom Against the Odds
  • The Original Medical Tourism Destination: Keeping Patients Coming as Health Care Goes Global
  • Video Sharing from the Grave: A Tale of Murder, Intrigue and Micro blogging in Guatemala
  • Science at SIPA: The Course Work of the Future

The full magazine is available for veiwing as a PDF by clicking here.  All previous issues of SIPA News can also be viewed on line by clicking here.


For details on the following picture, see page 5 of the PDF.


"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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