Archive for United Nations

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?

A View from the Class: The 2018 Award-Winning Capstone Workshop Team

The SIPA Office of Alumni and Development is pleased to share another installment of A View from the Class, a SIPA stories series featuring current SIPA students, recently graduated alumni, and SIPA faculty.

Here, we feature the Capstone workshop team that was awarded this year’s Dr. Susan Aurelia Gitelson Award for Human Values in International Affairs for their work with UN Women on the project “Using Twitter Data Combined with Traditional Survey Data to Measure Societal Dynamics Related to Violence Against Women in Brazil.” Awarded annually, the Gitelson award was created by SIPA alumna, Dr. Susan Gitelson to recognize outstanding work by SIPA students related to human values in international affairs.

For this project, six SIPA students were partnered with faculty advisor, David Dabscheck. UN Women was interested in the use of Big Data; specifically, to understand the potential of using Twitter data combined with traditional survey data to measure societal dynamics related to violence against women in Brazil, where the rates of homicide have continued to increase since 2007.

Alejandra Baez MIA’18: At SIPA, Alejandra concentrated in Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy with specializations in Latin America and Technology, Media, and Communications. A Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow, she will join the U.S. State Department in September 2018 as a Foreign Service Officer.

Wajeeha Bajwa MIA’18: Wajeeha grew up in Tokyo and Moscow and completed her undergraduate education in Germany before returning home to Pakistan to pursue a career in independent consulting. At SIPA, she specialized in Gender and Public Policy to complement her international field experience. She hopes to join an international organization working for women’s empowerment globally.

Gabriel Barrientos MPA-DP’18: At SIPA, Gabriel focused on quantitative analysis, education policies, and behavioral economics. Recently graduated, Gabriel is joining Concordia in New York City as a Partnership Development Manager, working with key partners, industry leaders, and other stakeholders to foster and strengthen public-private partnerships for social impact.

Veronique Ehamo MIA’18: At SIPA, Veronique concentrated in Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy with a dual specialization in Gender and Public Policy and Regional African Studies. From the Democratic Republic of Congo, she  will begin PhD studies in the United Kingdom this fall, focusing her research on the utilization of rape as a weapon of war in the North Kivu Region of Eastern DRC.

Lilah Greenberg MPA’19: A dual degree student at SIPA and the Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW), Lilah is pursuing her MPA, concentrating in Human Rights with a specialization in Gender and Public Policy. In fall 2018, she will continue her studies at CSSW, focusing on human rights and contemporary social issues in the U.S.

Marie Wavre MPA’18: An attorney and MPA graduate in Development and Gender Policy, Marie received a Master in Public International Law from Université Paris Assas and an LL.M. in International Law and Justice from Fordham University School of Law. Marie is currently legal counsel for an immigration law office representing Tibetan refugees seeking asylum in the United States.

SIPA Alumni Speaker Series: United Nations

Li-Wen Zhang Presentation

Last month, SIPA alumni Dr. Li-Wen Zhang and Mr. Tshering Gyaltshen (Getse) Penjor spoke to current students about their extensive work experience at the United Nations.

Dr. Zhang, an Adjunct Professor at the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University, served at the UN’s New York Headquarters for 27 years, and has worked in a variety of UN departments and offices including the Department of Political Affairs and the UN Security Council. Mr. Penjor, who achieved his MPA degree from the Program in Economic Policy Management (PEMP) in 1999, currently works as the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the UN in New York.

Read More →

Seeple Spotlight: Rina Lila, MIA ’15

Rina Lila MIA ’15

One of our very own students, Rina Lila, MIA ’15, will lead the first focus group discussion about a positive digital media registry about Kosovo. Lila’s organization, Kosovo Diaspora will host “From a Concept to Success: Focus Group on the Diaspora Virtual Registration,” this Friday, November 14 at 6:30 p.m., in room 1302 of the International Affairs Building in New York City. Read this Q & A excerpt to get a sneak peek at how a SIPA education, along with her background, has prepared her to take on such an exciting and challenging project:

Born and raised in Kosova, Rina Lila, a Master of International Affairs student, came to the United States in 2005 to finish high school in southern California; she went on to major in political science at Whittier College. Lila spoke with SIPA News about growing up in Kosovo, the impact the United Nations has had on her life, and being a part of Kosovo Diaspora in New York City.

Kosovo Diaspora’s upcoming event, “From a Concept to Success: Focus Group on the Diaspora Virtual Registration,” will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, November 14, in room 1302 of the International Affairs Building.

Tell us a bit about Kosovo Diaspora.
A former SIPA student, Behar Xharra MIA ’12, established the Kosovo Diaspora initiative, which is meant to raise awareness on Kosovo, and to highlight Kosovo through digital diplomacy. We want to make available positive digital media about Kosovo.

Behar graduated in 2012, before you came to SIPA. How do you know him?
Everyone from Kosovo knows each other. Behar actually convinced me to come to SIPA. [I was considering other schools], but he told me that SIPA is more international. He said you have more international students, you get to make more connections, it’s close to the United Nations—it’s an invaluable experience. So I came here. Then, last year, he got me involved with the Kosovo Diaspora.

How are your studies at SIPA related to this?
My concentration is in Economic and Political Development, and my specialization is in International Conflict Resolution. I am one of the co-presidents for the UN Studies Working Group and the Conflict Resolution group and I work very closely with Professor [Elisabeth] Lindenmayer as one of her course assistants. She’s been an inspiration for me with respect to the UN. I’ve always wanted to work for the UN. The fact that the UN was here was the main reason I wanted to come to SIPA.

Tell us more about the Kosovo Diaspora event you’ve planned for this Friday [November 14].
This year Behar asked me to lead the first focus group discussion on diaspora registry. Kosovo Diaspora is partnering with International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Kosovo Ministry of Diaspora to promote the registry among our widespread diaspora communities across five continents. The information collected will provide the Kosovo government with a better understanding of geographic and demographic profile of Kosovo Diaspora in order to establish evidence-based policies in Kosovo to address the needs and concerns of diaspora worldwide. As Kosovo Diaspora, we see a lot of potential to having a database of all Albanians everywhere, while working on our mission to digitlize diplomacy. The mission of this diaspora virtual registration is to bring together Albanian civil society leaders, successful entrepreneurs politicians well as students.

 

Read the rest of the Q & A here via SIPA News.

 

Student Group Spotlight: UN Studies Working Group

Life at SIPA is more than just a rigorous and exciting curriculum. The SIPA community is greatly enriched by the numerous student organizations on campus. We thought it would be useful to spotlight some of these organizations to give you a more holistic view of the SIPA experience.

The UN Studies Program Working Group (UNSWG) is a student organization that works in close relation with the UN Studies Program at SIPA. It aims to connect students and the entire SIPA community to the United Nations, to its issues and agenda, and to the UN System as a whole. UNSWG members are dedicated to the UN’s main goals, including principles of worldwide cooperation for peace and prosperity.

◦The UNSWG serves as a platform for delivery and exchange of knowledge, ideas, thoughts and reflection, debates and discussion on issues related to the United Nations and the UN system.

◦The UNSWG works to foster a close relation between SIPA and the UN: to prepare conferences, seminars, discussion panels and groups; invite speakers and prepare presentations; organize student debates around relevant and current issues related to the UN.

◦The UNSWG aims to maximize opportunities for SIPA students to be involved with the UN and the greater UN family through meetings with officials; visits to the UN Secretariat and UN agency headquarters; inviting speakers to SIPA; organizing internships, career panels, and support for individual initiatives related to the UN.

Within the first month of the semester, the UNSWG has coordinated the following events:

  • “How to get a job at the UN” panel with a representative from the UN’s Human Resources department
  • UN Studies Retreat, “70 Years Later: The United Nations at a Crossroad in a Changing World”, which featured speakers from the UN Secretary-General, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the International Peace Institute, the UN Secretary-General in Africa, and the United Nations Foundation
  • Participation in an upcoming talk given by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on challenges for the UN in the 21st Century

Check out the UNSWG’s blog for a list of past events and its general page for more information.

"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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