Archive for United Nations Studies

A View from the Class: Sarah Goddard MIA ’19

The SIPA Office of Alumni and Development is pleased to share A View from the Class, a series featuring current SIPA students, recently graduated alumni, and faculty. In this issue, we feature recently the graduated Sarah Goddard MIA ’19. Sarah earned a dual degree Master of International Affairs concentrating in Urban and Social Policy with a specialization in United Nations Studies. She also has a Master of Public Health degree concentrating in Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

What were you doing prior to attending SIPA?
I taught English at a high school in Toulouse, France. Afterwards, I served a year with AmeriCorps in Western Massachusetts at an affordable housing nonprofit, working on a community health and public safety project in a low-income urban area. This opportunity inspired me to apply to SIPA.

Why did you choose SIPA?
I chose SIPA because of the ability to combine my interest in urban and social policy with a degree in international affairs, and SIPA’s course offerings in community development, gender, and international relations theory inspired me. I also chose SIPA because of its location and access to the many opportunities and resources in New York City, including the United Nations. Attending the admitted students’ day and walking through the campus with future peers and colleagues solidified my decision.

Why did you choose your particular areas of study?
I chose urban and social policy because I wanted to bridge the gap between my pre-SIPA professional experiences working internationally in education and domestically in urban community development. I decided to specialize in United Nations Studies because I wanted to become more familiar with international organizations, and I became increasingly interested in the UN through internships, coursework, and exposure to the Sustainable Development Goals while at SIPA. I applied to the dual degree program with the Mailman School to better focus on the links between urban and social policy and health.

What have been some of your standout SIPA experiences?
At the end of my first year, I interned at the United Nations Development Programme in New York in their HIV, Health and Development group. This was the first time I really saw my interests in health and social development come together professionally, and it was exciting to gain first-hand experience in the UN system.

For my SIPA Capstone, I chose an Economic and Political Development (EPD) Workshop related to urban development and the Sustainable Development Goals in Colombia. This was a defining part of my SIPA experience. I got to travel with a great team to do fieldwork in multiple cities, and our project was selected for a microgrant from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and as a top project to present at the UN’s High Level Political Forum.

What have been some of your favorite SIPA courses?
I have taken a number of great courses with great professors at SIPA, but two courses stand out. The first is Yumiko Shimabukuro’s course on Comparative Urban Policy. Professor Shimabukuro made the course extremely dynamic and engaging by bringing in real life examples of urban policy failures and successes that brought the material to life. Beyond that, she transformed the class into a supportive family and became a mentor to many of us, and for that, I am grateful.

The second is Barbara Magnoni’s course on Working with the Private Sector for Development Outcomes. Professor Magnoni brought to the course expertise in private sector development and used many case examples from various sectors to make the material engaging and relevant. More importantly, she orchestrated a supportive classroom environment where students could debate and provide constructive feedback. Opportunities like this have shaped my experience at SIPA and are what make SIPA such a unique place.

What are your plans after SIPA?
I recently accepted an offer to work at Global Communities, an international development nonprofit, as a Program Officer in the Governance and Global Health pillar.

Elisabeth Lindenmayer Is New Director of IO/UN Specialization

Professor, a former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, has special expertise in peacekeeping

Professor Elisabeth Lindenmayer, a former assistant secretary general of the United Nations with special expertise in peacekeeping, has been named as the director of SIPA’s specialization in International Organizations and UN Studies (IO/UN). Lindenmayer, who was the founding director of the track in UN Studies within IO/UN, was selected following a national search to replace Dirk Salomons, who retired as the IO/UN director at the end of 2015.

Lindenmayer, who also holds the position of lecturer in international and public affairs, joined SIPA in 2009 as an adjunct professor. She has taught classes on subjects including the UN Security Council and peacekeeping and peace building in Africa and advised multiple Capstone teams. In 2010 Lindenmayer won the Teacher of the Year award at SIPA and in 2012 led a team of students to North Korea in the first such trip sponsored by a U.S. university.

Lindenmayer told SIPA News that she plans to survey IO/UN students in order to help plan the direction of the specialization in the months ahead.

“Students choose the specialization for different reasons,” she said. “I need to understand where the interest comes from so we can better fulfill their expectations.”

It is a promising time to study international organizations, Lindenmayer explained, because the United Nations, World Bank, and other multilateral institutions are moving toward closer integration to deal with interconnected global challenges. The major international organizations need to break their silos, she added, and move from fragmentation to synergy  and partnership.

To implement international programs like the Sustainable Development Goals and COP21 protocols on climate change, and to address challenges like the refugee crisis of recent years, will require multiple organizations to work together, she observed—otherwise we will fail the people we are mandated to help.

“It’s not so easy to have a structure that reflects the world we live in today, but the international system simply has to evolve,” Lindenmayer said. “I want the IO/UN specialization to be part of that story and evolution.”

Read about SIPA’s specialization in International Organizations and UN Studies

Choose SIPA for the United Nations Studies Working Group, says Camilo Lizarralde, MIA ’15

Everyone here at the Admissions Office knows that many of our newly-admitted students are still torn between enrolling at SIPA or another public policy program this upcoming fall. With enrollment deadlines looming, I wanted to share with you a post by one of our Admissions Ambassadors, Camilo Lizarralde. Camilo, MIA ’15, is in the International Security Policy concentration and United Nations specialization. Since many of you are interested in SIPA’s ties with the United Nations, I thought Camilo’s story was pertinent to share. As one of the first UN Studies specializers, he has a lot of passion for SIPA and its connection to the United Nations. Here’s why Camilo chose SIPA.

Read More →

Do you want to specialize in United Nations Studies next year?

If you haven’t heard, the long anticipated United Nations Studies specialization has arrived at SIPA!
The 2014–2015 academic year marks a new chapter in United Nations Studies (UNS) at SIPA. Due to the hard work of UNS Director, Professor Elisabeth Lindenmayer, and the enthusiasm of committed students in the previous academic year, the SIPA administration, led by Dean Merit Janow, agreed to a more institutionalized structure for UNS. Now, for the first time in the history of SIPA, students are able to choose a specialization in UN Studies! Accordingly, the “co-curricular” status of the formerly known United Nations Studies Program was phased out, making way for the UNS specialization path of study, under the umbrella of the International Organizations (IO) specialization.

"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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