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Prospects for 21st Century African Agriculture

Top flight events are a mainstay at SIPA.  For some evidence, check out what is happening this Monday.  The good news is that if you wish to participate from your computer, you can.  See the end of this entry for details on how to view the event live.

Prospects for 21st Century African Agriculture

Time: Monday, 6:30 pm

Type: Discussion


Mamadou Diouf
Professor of History, Director Institute for African Studies
Committee on Global Thought
Columbia University


Kofi Annan
Former Secretary General
United Nations

Jeffrey Sachs
Director, The Earth Institute
The Earth Institute

Program Notes:

It is widely recognized that agricultural development can play a key role in eliminating hunger, reducing poverty and food insecurity, increasing trade, and promoting wealth in Africa.  However, the full potential of African agriculture is far from being realized.  Part of the 2010-2011 World and Africa Series, this panel seeks to explore the possibilities for boosting the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of African agriculture in the 21st century.  It will consider those cutting edge programs, policies, and technologies that are paving new roads forward with regard to unleashing the full potential of the continent’s agricultural economies.

Kofi Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, serving two terms from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006 and was the first to emerge from the ranks of United Nations staff. In 2001 Kofi Annan and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace with the citation praising his leadership for “bringing new life to the organisation”. In 2009, Annan was named a Columbia Global Fellow by University President Lee Bollinger.

Jeffrey Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. From 2002 to 2006, he was Director of the UN Millennium Project and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals.

This event is co-sponsored with The Earth Institute.

This event can also be viewed via live webcast.


Windows Media:

Columbians Recount, Respond to Haiti Quake

haitiLast week I noted that some SIPA students were in Haiti as part of their professional development work when the earthquake occurred.  The Record, a Columbia University publication, recently ran an article about the SIPA students and others from around the University that were in Haiti at the time.  A portion of the article is below and to view the whole article please visit the web site of The Record.

Shortly before 5:00 p.m. on Jan. 12, Elisabeth Lindenmayer, director of the United Nations program at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), was in Port-au-Prince with six of her students, exiting a van outside the United Nations Development Programme building. A longtime U.N. peacekeeper and former assistant secretary general and deputy chief of staff to Kofi Annan, she and her students were in Haiti for a week-long trip. They were conducting research on the role of the private sector in social and economic development and its link to state-building. After close to a week of interviews, they were scheduled to leave the next morning.

As they stepped onto the street, the earth shuddered. The building they were about to enter started to crack, and a deafening roar filled the air. “Get out,” Lindenmayer yelled. Some students threw themselves on the ground; others stayed in the van.

Although members of the Columbia community lost family and friends, the Columbians who were in Haiti were extraordinarily lucky. Remarkably, no one was injured, and a total of 10 students, faculty and staff members were able to be evacuated out of the country with support from a team working from Morningside Heights.

Today at SIPA: George W. Ball Lecture


Thursday, November 19, 2009

George W. Ball Lecture

Kemal Dervis
George W. Ball Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs at SIPA and former head of the United Nations Development Programme

Globalization After the Great Crisis of 2008-2009:
Continuity or Fundamental Change?

Kellogg Center, 15th Floor
International Affairs Building

International Students at SIPA

The following was prepared by SIPA student Abibata Shanni Mahama, a second year MIA student concentrating in Economic and Political Development.


Prior to SIPA, my concern was mostly how to get adjusted to a new environment and culture entirely different from Ghana but little did I know that there were resources at Columbia University which could easily make me feel at home. This thought vanished right away after the International Students Orientation organized by The International Students and Scholars Office which is very resourceful in getting international students settled for classes. They touched on every bit of student life in a different environment from academic, expressions, language to social life.  As part of the orientation, they  planned  activities for International students to get accustomed to the City of New York and historical places in the United States. The interactions I got from my fellow students alone boosted my morale and confidence of studying at SIPA which is situated in the heart of New York City with easy access to transport and Broadway shows.

SIPA also has a  rich blend of Student and Faculty of different nationalities from all over the world representing all continents. Each year approximately 50% of the students at SIPA are international. In fact some students from different schools at Columbia University jokingly refer to SIPA as “Mini UN”. The diversity of rich backgrounds and knowledge make learning fascinating as we learn from each others culture aside academic work. I have particularly achieved a lot of understanding of global issues pertaining to policy by interacting with students from regions relevant to my research for deeper analysis of the issues at stake.

For example, before I came to SIPA I had a little knowledge of Africa until I took courses in Economic and Political Development where a wide array of topics are centered on the African Continent where development struggles to address the need of the people that are the targets of the projects. This has given me an insight into the problems and challenges of Africa in terms of development and also paved the direction of the processes to be followed in formulating and implementing policies in the most deprived regions of concern if I ever come across similar issues after graduating from SIPA.

International students at SIPA are treated the same as United States citizens. Every student is equally important and relevant. However, the grading system of SIPA is different from other schools. Therefore it is important to find out from respective professors on their grading pattern.

Global Fellow Kofi Annan Addresses Columbia Community

Last week at Columbia former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan discussed climate change during his delivery of the Gabriel Silver Lecture at Columbia’s World Leaders Forum. Annan is part of the first cohort of SIPA’s Global Fellows Program, a distinguished group of global leaders, each of whom has played a significant role in designing, shaping, or implementing solutions to critical global problems.


The following description of the event comes from the Columbia News Web site:

The Gabriel Silver Memorial Lectures were inaugurated in 1950 at the School of International and Public Affairs to foster international understanding and world peace. The first lecture was given by Dwight D. Eisenhower. Annan’s talk on climate change coincides with a range of Columbia-hosted events showcasing other leaders on the issue, including Sir Nicholas Stern, noted economist; Denmark’s minister for climate and energy, Connie Hedegaard; and the University’s own experts in climate science and policy.

The Columbia Global Fellows Program was established to bring to campus each year a distinguished group of global leaders, each of whom has played a significant role in designing, shaping or implementing solutions to critical global problems. In May, SIPA Dean John H. Coatsworth announced Kofi Annan as one of three inaugural Global Fellows; the others include Alfred Gusenbauer, former chancellor of Austria, and Tung Chee Hwa, former chief executive of Hong Kong.

You can view a full video of Mr. Annan’s speech by visiting this link.

"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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