Pictured: SIPA Delegation to the conference with Dean Merit Janow and Dean Cory Way.

On Saturday February 29, the London School of Economics (LSE) School of Public Policy hosted the Annual Global Public Policy Network Conference for 2020, which was focused on Global Innovative Public Policy Solutions.

SDG Fellows and Deans, from L-R: Alexon Grochowski, Dean Cory Way, Emily Boytinck, Devina Srivastava, Dean Merit Janow, Zulpha Styer, and Dan Poniachik. Absent: Vera Yang. Photo Credit: LSE Public Policy School

SIPA is a proud founding member of the Global Public Policy Network, which represents seven of the most prestigious public policy schools across the globe. The network includes LSE, the School of Public Affairs at Sciences Po, the Hertie School in Berlin, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Tokyo, and the Fundção Getulio Vargas (FGV) at the Escola de Administração de Empresas​ in São Paulo.

​The annual conference has been a highlight of the network since it was founded in 2005, and presents a unique opportunity for students and deans to consider contemporary issues of global public policy and network with colleagues. SIPA students really enjoy meeting colleagues from the other schools and sharing their passion for tackling wicked problems.

I attended the conference as a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fellow to present a project developed with five of my  SIPAcolleagues over the past year. We were part of a cohort of students from SIPA, Sciences Po, Hertie and Lee Kuan Yew who benefitted from a year-long program that included SDG leadership modules in Paris in January 2019, New York City in May 2019, and the opportunity to present in London in 2020. The SIPA team project was ‘StandUp’, a bystander intervention training program for South African boys that seeks to reduce rape and gender-based violence.

SIPA Students Kim Loan and Khanh Vu present on their project to improve mental health resources in Vietnam. Photo Credit: LSE Public Policy School

We were accompanied by SIPA teams who had been selected to compete in the GPPN Competition. The teams selected to attend had the opportunity to present their projects to the Deans of these prestigious schools of public affairs. It was wonderful to hear the range of issues that GPPN students were working on – from improving the social reintegration of recovering drug addicts in São Paulo, wealth redistribution through investment bonds in Italy, and birth assistance tools for isolated communities in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Just like SIPA students, GPPN students have fascinating backgrounds and perspectives and bring their passion to the projects they’ve been working on.

Conference attendees were also lucky enough to have a skills training session from Dr Barbara Fasolo on Deciding in a Risky World. Dr Fasolo is an Associate Professor of Behavioural Science at LSE, and also heads up their Behavioural Research Lab. Her workshop was timely and relevant because she used the COVID-19 pandemic as a case study for how individuals make decisions, particularly when assessing risks.

Another benefit of attending SIPA is that as a GPPN member school we also offer our students access to international dual degrees programs, to pursue interest for public policy in different university and national settings. Students like Theotis Sharpe MPA ’20 benefit from experiencing SIPA and NYC, and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.