Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans Class of 2015

September 30th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Applications due November 1, 2014
Finalists announced early January, 2015
Finalist Interviews: January 28-February 6, 2015
2015 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows announced early March 2015


Seeple snapshot: Katherine McGehee

September 29th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Katherine McGehee_SIPA photo

Katherine McGehee
Master of International Affairs
Concentration: Economic and Political Development
Specialization: Management

Katherine McGehee is a native New Yorker, Katherine attended the United Nations International School through high school, which most definitely sparked her interest in international affairs. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012 with a dual degree in Foreign Affairs and French and a minor in history. During college, she studied abroad at Sciences Po Paris where she pursued courses on development in Africa. Before joining SIPA, she worked for the New York City Mayor’s Office for International Affairs on urban-level research and at Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières on advocacy work. Since studying at SIPA, she has interned for a UN-related agency, served as an editorial assistant at the school’s Journal of International Affairs, and interned in public sector consulting.

What attracted you most to SIPA?

What attracted me most to SIPA are two things: New York City and the Capstone component. SIPA is unique in the fact that it has a strong network internationally, domestically, and especially in New York. I wanted a school where I would have a strong network of alumni, professors, and contacts in New York City as my immediate career goal is to remain in New York following graduation. I do want the opportunity to have a strong resume anywhere else in the world too and SIPA carries a strong reputation globally. The Capstone is another unique element of SIPA’s curriculum as it gives SIPA students the opportunity to translate theory into practice through fieldwork experience. I am really excited about the opportunity to work as a consultant for a top organization over the course of my second year.

Have you taken classes at other Columbia Schools?

At SIPA, I am continuing to develop my interest in international affairs with a particular focus on private sector development of public services. Most notably, I am concentrating on the broad issues of food security, public health, and infrastructure. The beauty of SIPA is that it is possible to explore a range of issues in the classroom, through internships, and through consulting projects organized by the school. This is also made possible through the opportunity to take courses at other Columbia schools. Last semester, I took a class called, “International Development and the Private Sector,” which gave me a different perspective on ways to create successful development projects.

Can you comment on the quantitative rigor in the curriculum?

One of my biggest concerns coming into SIPA was the quantitative requirement in the curriculum. I had never studied economics, statistics, or financial management before and I was really anxious about stacking up next to other SIPA classmates. While SIPA’s core quantitative courses are certainly rigorous, the school ensures that its students receive the support they need to learn and succeed in these classes. Tutors, review sessions, recitations, and team activities are available to work through problem sets. Multiple course levels are available to ensure that students can choose to what extent they would like to be challenged.

What advice would you give a first-year student?

Before answering this question, I consulted with my SIPA peers (most notably Adero Miwo, MIA 2015) to get their perspectives. The dominant advice: be open, be focused, and be disciplined. SIPA can be overwhelming because of the seemingly infinite number of course options, student activities, and volunteer opportunities. By having an objective of what you want when you start at SIPA, you can get the most from the curriculum and from the school community. Remaining open to new possibilities and staying disciplined, especially when it comes to time management, can ensure that you succeed at SIPA.


Mathematics? Language? A resume?

September 26th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Even Albert Einstein said: “Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.”

Our perceptions of our skills tend to skew left, and when we think about our math ability, we reflect on our confidence, and not our actual skills.

The SIPA Admissions office understands that applicants will have varied quantitative backgrounds and skills. We have designed an application that best allows you to demonstrate your quantitative competencies through the quantitative/language resume. Here, you can highlight experiences that have strengthened your math, economics, and statistics skills.

The core curriculum at SIPA requires the completion of rigorous quantitative courses and we want to make sure applicants provide as much information as possible about their quantitative aptitude, experience, and capabilities. This can include coursework in mathematics, statistics, economics, engineering, natural or computer science, etc. as well as the use of quantitative methods in a professional environment (paid, volunteer, or intern work is acceptable).

Perhaps you have worked as an accountant, bookkeeper, or balanced budgets in your professional experiences. Perhaps you served as treasurer of a student organization or used quantitative skills in a volunteer opportunity. These are experiences that you can include in the additional resume.

Is there an ideal quantitative background SIPA is looking for in an applicant?

Recently, we’ve received many questions about what makes an ideal quantitative background for a hopeful candidate.  While SIPA does not have a rigid answer, the Admissions Committee looks for evidence of a candidate’s ability to undertake quantitative coursework at the graduate level. Most successful applicants have completed at least two courses in economics (macro and microeconomics). Applicants lacking a quantitative background are encouraged to consider enrolling in mathematics courses above all else.

While the Admissions Committee does not require that each applicant have experience in all three areas (economics, statistics, and mathematics) to be admitted, extensive coursework in these areas definitely strengthens one’s chances of gaining favorable admission consideration.

For more on quantitative questions, check out our Frequently Asked Questions pages.


Interview with SIPA MIA Candidate, Dario Martinez

September 24th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Dario Martinez

Brief Background: I am originally from Honduras and I have a Bachelor in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration, both from Loyola University New Orleans. Prior to enrolling at SIPA, I was a Senior Territory Manager for Loyola University and I was in charge of the recruitment and marketing efforts for the university in Latin America, the Caribbean, Mississippi and Florida. During my time at SIPA, I have been involved in the SIPA Consulting club and assisted them in organizing the Case Competition last fall. Also, as a member of the Columbia’s Impact Investing Initiative (CI3), I was part of a four person team that developed a strategy for Habvita Mexico’s entrance into the microfinance housing market in Mexico. Finally, this summer I was an intern in the Renewable Energy Research Department for ThinkGreen Global Advisors and I assisted my manager with client pitching, managing interns, due diligence and research on clean energy topics.

What attracted you to SIPA? What attracted me the most to SIPA, was its rigorous curriculum. I had a strong foundation in Finance and Business prior to coming to SIPA but I wanted to further my quantitative and analytical skills further. My professors are not only knowledgeable and highly regarded in their field but where accessible and invested in training tomorrow’s leaders. Moreover, undertaking classes such as Accounting for Public Affairs, Economic Analysis II or Capital Markets definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone and prepared me to pursue a career in the private or public financial sector. All of this while attending a school that has a strong focus in policy, which I am very passionate about, and an unparalleled international focus.

What experience prepared you to attend SIPA? I think that the two experiences that have helped me the most are: work experience and multicultural awareness. As a Territory Manager, I had to learn to work in a fast pace environment, to develop strong multitasking and time management skills, and to interact in a professional setting with people from different backgrounds and cultures. My prior experience also allowed me to develop a better understanding of the concepts and tools discussed in my classes and their applications in the real world.

While at SIPA, I have also been surprised with the diversity of our student body and the wealth of knowledge the students bring to the classrooms. I have classmates come from all over the world, SIPA has 51 countries represented on campus, and from very interesting and unique backgrounds. My classmates are former marines, Peace-Corp participants, full-bright recipients and international development consultants. This opportunity has definitely allowed me to learn about my classmate’s countries, their customs and their personal and professional experiences.

What kind of work do you want to do when you graduate?

Upon graduation, I intend to work in the finance sector. My goal is to join a rating agency or a financial institution and use the knowledge and skills that I acquired at SIPA to provide world-class financial, strategic solutions and research to their sovereign and institutional clients.

September 23, 2014: Happy first day of autumn!

September 23rd, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

A wonderful way to learn more about the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and its programs is by attending an information session. We offer in-person visits for those of you that will be in the New York area, as well as virtual sessions online. We invite you to get to know us this fall!

For in-person information sessions, reservations are required so if you would like to attend, please let us know which date you would like to visit and we will reserve a space for you. Please call our office at 212-854-6216 or email us at to make your reservation.

For in-person information session dates this fall, please click here.

Our fall virtual information sessions will be held on the following dates:

  • Thursday, October 2nd: 11:00am-12:00pm
  • Wednesday, October 15th: 9:30am-10:30am
  • Tuesday, October 28th: 11:00am-12:00pm
  • Thursday, November 20th: 12:00pm-1:00pm
  • Tuesday, December 2nd: 12:00pm-1:00pm
  • Wednesday, December 17th: 10:00 am-11:00am

You are also welcome to come and stop by the office Monday through Friday between 9am and 5pm, excluding holidays, to meet with an Admissions counselor and discuss SIPA’s curriculum, application process, and any questions that you may have for us.

Directions and travel information to our office may be found on the SIPA page.

We look forward to meeting you!

The beauty of Columbia in the fallPhoto courtesy of the Morningside Post (

Photo courtesy of the Morningside Post


Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance offers opportunities for young Africans

September 23rd, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

The Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance is a network of highly educated young African entrepreneurs, from leading universities in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.  In partnership with private and public sector groups, the Alliance has developed an entrepreneurial ecosystem to support the social and business ventures of young African professionals.

If you are developing a social or business venture and could benefit from the mentors, pro bono services, angel investors, venture capital, or insights of the Harmbe network of entrepreneurs, consider joining the Alliance to magnify your impact.  The Harambe Bretton Woods Symposium is the annual gathering for the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance.  Held each April, the HBWS serves as the entry point into the Alliance for entrepreneurial young Africans.   30 young African professionals are invited to attend the HBWS each year.  To apply, click here.

To learn more about the Alliance and the benefits it offers, the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance is hosting a colloquium at Princeton University on September 26 at 3pm in room Frist 207.

To learn more about our Alliance please review the links below:

McKinsey & Company (Video)
Why Join Harambe? (Video)



The President is here… just another day at SIPA

September 19th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

His Excellency Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia, will give a talk at SIPA on Armenia and foreign policy – opportunities and challenges on September 24. There will also be a very interesting discussion with Director David Phillips on Destroying ISIS on Monday. 

In addition to the discussion on the crisis in Ukraine with Alexander Dynkin, Director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow and adviser to the prime minister of Russia, Professor Robert Jervis, Valerli Kuchynskyi, the former Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN, and Professor Kimberly Marten. 

Wow!  I haven’t even made my way down the event calendar


Looking for money to pursue an international and language study program?

September 18th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Make sure the Boren Fellowship is on your radarThe Boren Fellowships provide funding to U.S. citizens who are pursuing international and language study in world regions critical to U.S. interests, such as Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.  Boren Fellowships for graduate students provide up to $30,000 for language study and international research.  Boren Fellowship awards are made for a minimum of 12 weeks and maximum of 24 months.

Recipients of a Boren Fellowship accept a Service Requirement to work for the federal government in the national security arena. Award recipients are not guaranteed a federal job after graduation – they must secure a position themselves.

The 2015-16 application deadline is January 27, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. EST.  Boren Fellowship applicants will be notified of their status by mail in late April.

For more information about the application process, click here.


Interview with SIPA MIA Candidate, Lauren Podber

September 16th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Lauren Podber

Lauren Podber

Degree: Dual (BA/MIA)
Concentration: International Security Policy
Specialization: Regional: Middle East

Lauren is a second-year SIPA student pursuing an MIA degree with a concentration in International Security Policy. During her time at SIPA, which has overlapped with her final year at Columbia’s undergraduate School of General Studies (GS), Lauren has worked for Court Square Capital Partners, a private equity firm, as well as choreographed for Fordham University’s Dance Team. During the Summer of 2012 and of 2013, Lauren interned in the Intelligence and Cyber Operating Unit, at a defense contractor in Northern Virginia. This summer, in addition to working at Court Square and Fordham, Lauren continued studying Persian/Farsi, which she has been learning over the course of the past three years. Before coming to Columbia as an undergraduate in 2009, Lauren was a professional dancer. She graduated magna cum laude and phi beta kappa with a degree in Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies from Columbia University in February 2014.

What did you do before coming to SIPA?

I worked as a professional dancer before coming to SIPA. Although I was formally trained as a classical ballet dancer at the Joffrey Ballet School and Kirov Academy of Ballet, I ended up working as a professional dancer/cheerleader for the New Jersey Devils, a hockey team, as well as several smaller teams managed by the owners of the Devils. I also worked for House of the Roses Volunteer Dance Company: a non profit organization providing free, onsite dance instruction to homeless and at-risk children in transitional shelters and community centers in NYC and the Bronx.   In 2009, I came to Columbia’s undergraduate School of General Studies to pursue a degree in Middle Eastern Studies.


On the left: a group of House of the Roses dancers after a performance at “Project Dance” in Time Square, in 2010.




On the right: NHL Playoffs 2009. I’m second from the right, and the palest of the group! lauren3









What attracted you to SIPA?

The professors! I heard about the program from a friend in GS, and I remember looking at the online course bulletin for ISP (International Security Policy) and deciding right then and there that I needed to apply. I was so excited to sign up for so many of the courses. In addition, continuing at Columbia, allowed me to take an extra year of Persian/Farsi with my favorite language teacher. Lastly, as someone who would have finished college at 28, it allowed me to complete a masters degree more quickly, which should hopefully be beneficial in the job search!


What kind of work do you hope to do when you graduate?

I’m most interested in the Middle East and Central Asia. Hopefully, I’ll end up working somewhere where I am focused on Iran, and get to continue learning the language. Given the ever-changing global landscape, this could be completely irrelevant five years from now, so I’m keeping an open mind!


Can’t make it to campus, find us on the road

September 15th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

We’re visiting a few places this week so if you can’t make it to Columbia University in Morningside Heights, NYC then find us off campus.

Tonight (Monday, September 15) we’re heading south to midtown east (not that far away but for those who are already working, playing or living in the area, it’s just a faster and easier commute).  We’re participating in an admissions fair with a number of APSIA schools so you can meet a few of us in one evening.  And if international affairs is your kind of thing, you can also participate in a panel discussion with CFR experts discussing the New Middle East.  To register for the event, click here.  There is a small fee to attend the panel discussion but the fair is free (use “APSIA” as the promo code).

This week we’ll also be in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Mexico, and the US capital (Washington, DC).  For a list of where you can find us to learn more about SIPA, visit our website, under “On the Road.”  If you’re in New York and able to visit our lovely campus, come and attend an information session.


It’s Friday… and still thinking SIPA.

September 12th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

It’s Friday and all day the halls were bustling with activity — even though there are very few classes going on in the International Affairs Building today.  The academic year has begun and for the next eight months IAB will be busy.  After leaving a financial aid meeting, it was refreshing to join students at the Welcome Back reception.  The fascinating stories of our students’ summer adventures and their plans to better the global community  … makes our job of getting them here worthwhile.

One of  our newest members (from the Class of 2016) posted why she chose to come to SIPA on her personal Blog… Hope Hila doesn’t mind that I am linking to it here.  Reading her blog may give you another reason to study at SIPA and pursue a MPA degree… or it may just instill in you a reason to make a social impact… which is AWESOME too.


Meet our newest Admissions Program Assistants (PA)

September 11th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Each year we are blessed to have an enthusiastic core group of SIPA graduate students serve as Admission Program Assistants (PA).  For prospective students interested in hearing the SIPA student perspective, the PA is here to provide that insight.  Chances are you will meet one or two or all of them during the admissions process — either in the office, online or on the telephone.

We will post a few Q&A responses from each of them in the next few days so you get to know who is on the other end.  Our wonderful PAs come from different backgrounds and experiences and bring a diverse perspective.  They will also be a great resource on what to do (and not do) as you consider going back to school … since they’ve all been where you are now.

Eric Medina  fall 2014

Eric Medina, MPA 2015 is concentrating in International Security Policy with a focus on the United States (specialization)

What was your previous professional experience?
I spent 10 years in the United States Army. I was assigned to Fort Bragg, NC for the majority of my career. My first international assignment was a combat deployment to Afghanistan with the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne). My last international assignment was as the Military Development Liaison Officer to the United States Embassy in the Philippines.

What kind of work do you want to do when you graduate?
I would like to work in the Intelligence Community as a policy advisor for senior government officials.

What has been the best part of your SIPA experience?
The best part has been the friends I’ve made. The diversity of the student body never ceases to amaze me. The opinions and perspectives they bring to conversations regarding domestic and international policy is by far something I have not experienced elsewhere.

Do you feel like you have gotten to know some of the faculty members?
Yes, the faculty at SIPA is exceptional. Not only are there brilliant scholars, but also many are still current practitioners in their field. The experience and insights they bring into the classroom is immeasurable.


The Visit

September 10th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

It’s not mandatory to visit our school but it can be helpful in your search when you are trying to identify the right school for you. It also gives the admissions office an opportunity to get to know you as a person, beyond what they see in your application.

Plan your visit ahead of time.  It allows you to schedule your time strategically and plan your travel to and from the school so you can maximize your visit.  Contact the admissions office to make an appointment to meet with a counselor, arrange a class visit so you can observe a class and professor in action, join a campus tour and meet with current students.  You can also schedule an appointment to sit down with other staff and faculty in the department of your academic interest.

Read and research the school and program before you visit.  You’ll want to make the most of your time with the people you meet so ask intelligent questions; don’t waste the time asking questions you can easily find on the school’s website and program brochure.  The website and brochure are designed to answer the most common questions from prospective students, and you’ll make a much stronger first impression if you have done your homework.

If you have time, I would also recommend visiting the Financial Aid Office. You should begin your search for financial aid while you’re researching schools; even if you don’t know if you will apply and attend if admitted.  It’s a good idea to think seriously about how you’ll finance your degree if you do eventually come to SIPA.

At the Financial Aid office, you can ask about scholarships, assistantships, and grants offered through the school, as well as external funding sources (such as student loans and special funding specific to your field of study).  Find out what the eligibility requirements are, whether you need to supplement your application with additional documentation or materials, and what the deadlines are to be considered for school funding.  Keep in mind that external scholarship application deadlines vary so make sure you submit by the specified deadlines.  Start your search for financial aid early and don’t miss opportunities to get funding.

If you have time in your schedule, you should explore the city or town — If you decide on a school (hopefully it’s SIPA), you’ll have to live in that city for two years so it’s important to know if it offers the quality of life you expect and want for yourself (and your family – if you have one coming with you).

Hopefully, during your visit, you’ll get a sense of the school, the culture of the students and faculty, the facilities, and the community.  If you are planning to visit SIPA, let us know or just swing by the office (We’re open: Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm).  See you on campus.

What’s going on at SIPA? Monday, September 8 – Friday, September 12

September 5th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Classes have begun and we already have a set of events planned at SIPA next week. You can find a full list of events on our website. But here’s a short list of what you could find yourself doing next week:


The Being Young Forum: From Silicon Valley to Zhongguancun: Who Will Be More Innovative, Young People in the U.S. or China? Dean Merit E. Janow of the School of International and Public Affairs and President Debora Spar of Barnard College invite you to participate in a special televised discussion on campus.

Architecture and Diplomacy: Transatlantic Approaches: The presentations and panels of professionals in architecture, history, and government explore the “architecture of diplomacy” across the Atlantic. A reception and an exhibition of Columbia architecture students’ works will follow the event.


Origins of Environmental Law Lecture Series: The Structure and Role of Congress in Environmental Policy

This lecture by Leon G. Billings and Thomas C. Jorling will provide a comprehensive overview of the factors that influence environmental policy and the political climate, such as the structure and personalities of the members and staff of the Senate subcommittee, and the role of lobbyists, administration staff, and the media. It will look specifically at how the media portrayed major environmental legislation and how commentary from figures such as Rachael Carson and Barry Commoner may have influenced Congress in the 1960s and 1970s.

The New Brazil: Achievements and Challenges: A talk about Brazil’s need for more savings and investment, better education, and a reduction in the “Brazil cost” of doing business. This talk is part of the course Political, Social, and Economic Development of Brazil (Instructor Sidney Nakahodo).


Perspectives on Public Integrity: Ben Olken Maximizing Illicit Profits: Understanding How Corrupt Officials Choose How Much to Charge for Bribes: Professor Benjamin Olken of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Jameel Poverty Action Lab will discuss the quantitative methods employed by leading economists to tackle corruption worldwide.


ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and the U.S.: Saltzman Institute members and frequent media contributors Austin Long and Stuart Gottlieb will discuss the growing regional and global threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

A Talk by Ambassador Ian Kelly: A talk by Ambassador Ian Kelly about his experiences dealing with Russia during his foreign service career; he’ll also discuss opportunities at the State Department.

Also Like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien: A discussion about the work of Taiwan’s celebrated filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien in conjunction with the Museum of the Moving Image’s retrospective “Also Like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien.”



September 4th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

The anticipation is over.  The 2015 SIPA MIA/MPA application is now available online.  If you are interested in applying for the 2015-2016 academic year, please create an account and get started.  Select an email address you use regularly and a password that you will remember.

There are two entry points to our 2-year MIA/MPA program — Spring and Fall.  Please select the appropriate term you wish to begin your program of study.  Spring applicants should submit their application by October 15; spring applications are reviewed on a rolling basis which means the earlier you submit your application, the earlier you will hear back from us.

If fall is a more ideal time for you to begin your studies,  you should submit your application and all supporting documents no later than February 5, 2015.  There are two additional (and equally important) application deadlines to take note.  If you like to plan early, we offer, for the first time, an EARLY ACTION option.  If you submit a completed application by November 1, 2014, the Admissions Committee will review and render a decision before the new year.  An early decision is only offered to those who meet the November 1 deadline.  Applications submitted after November 1 will not receive a decision before March 14.  And if you wish to be considered for a SIPA merit scholarship, you must submit your application by January 5, 2015.  Admitted students who are selected to receive a SIPA fellowship will be notified in March of their award.

Looking forward to “meeting” you.

>> 2015 SIPA Application<<


New Student Photo Series #8

August 25th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Hawa Ansary is an incoming Master of International Affairs student.  She will be concentrating in International Security Policy and plans to specialize on the Middle East.

Hawa Ansary, born and raised in Afghanistan moved to the United States in 2007 for college.  She has not been able to visit Afghanistan but her passion to give back and stay connected remains.   Hawa is currently working for the Embassy of Afghanistan.  As an Afghan woman who missed 5 years of her education under the rule of Taliban she is dedicated to help educate women not only in Afghanistan but around the globe.  Hawa has been working with the Muslim Women’s Association that promotes and provides access for the many unprivileged Muslim women in the U.S. She is also volunteering for Razia Rays of Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization that built and continues to fund the first school for girls in Ansary’s village, Day Saabz, Afghanistan.


Summer 2014:  Hawa Ansary and Former Afghan Ambassador to Bulgaria at a fundraising event showcasing traditional Afghan clothes.

Summer 2014: Hawa Ansary and Former Afghan Ambassador to Bulgaria at a fundraising event showcasing traditional Afghan clothes.



Great Moments at SIPA: 2013 – 2014

August 22nd, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

As we prepare for the start of the fall semester on September 2, check out our reel of video highlights from the past year: Watch now »

If you want to see what’s going on at SIPA, click here for our events calendar » .

And if you can’t be here, we also posts some of our events online.  Watch some of our past events online:  Watch now »


New Student Photo Series #7

August 20th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

We’re only a few days from Orientation.  Students are stopping by the office to “introduce” themselves.  And even though this new class is just starting, we feel like they’ve been around for a while.  We’ve gotten to know them during the admissions process so it’s very exciting to finally see all of them in person.

As we count down to Orientation, we’ll post the rest of the photo contributions from our new students so you may share their adventures before arriving at SIPA.

Our next submission comes from Bartosz Garbaczewski who will be pursuing his Master of International Affairs, concentrating in Energy and Environment and specializing in Advanced Economic and Policy Analysis.


This coming September I will officially join the family of  Columbia University | SIPA – a family of incredibly diverse backgrounds and experiences! I look forward to meeting you all, and sharing personal interests and passions, as well as  professional experiences in and beyond classrooms. 

As we all arrive in NYC and arrange for housing for the upcoming academic year, here are some facts about myself, which I would like to share.  I am originally from Poland where I spent the first twenty years of my life. Since the last nine years I studied, worked and lived in six countries around the globe including Germany, England, China, Canada, the Netherlands, and Qatar. My professional experience is in the energy industry, where I have spent four years working across downstream and upstream businesses in one of the world’s largest oil majors.  

As a keen traveler, I am sharing three photographs, which I took in Qatar, Thailand and most recently in Sri Lanka.

Cheers,  Bartosz


Qatar : "Stopping for a picture with camels in Al-Shahaniya in Qatar in March - a place where every visitor should stop to catch a camel race during the season..."

Qatar : “Stopping for a picture with camels in Al-Shahaniya in Qatar in March – a place where every visitor should stop to catch a camel race during the season…”


Sri Lanka : “Stilt fishermen fishing from their poles in Unawatuna in Sri Lanka presented a view worth capturing with my camera this July”


Thailand : “While visiting Thailand in May I visited Damnoen Floating Market – one of the most famous Thailand’s floating markets.”









New Student Photo Series #6

August 14th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Max Arvid Anderson will be joining SIPA in two weeks.  He will be among 200+ new students pursuing the Master of International Affairs degree this fall.  Before beginning his studies, Max spent his summer in the Economic and Social Council Chamber at the UN Headquarters in New York.


The silly grin on my face is due to some over-the-top self satisfaction, the fatigue is due to spending the summer working. The picture was taken last month, when the draft resolution on General Assembly Revitalization was adopted by consensus in the Ad Hoc Working Group on GA Revitalization. The GA Revitalization process is a yearly affair (like so many things at the UN), and was formalised after the 2005 World Summit. This year I had the privilege to function as negotiator on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. The other main stake holders are the NAM, certain members of the Security Council and UN Member States who value the GA and the UN reform process. This year proved particularly difficult due to well known political sensitivities when it comes to the selection and appointment of the next UNSG, due to take place in 2016. On a more consensual note, we managed to agree that the Security Council elections for non-permanent members should take place earlier than October; to allow smaller UN Member States to adequately prepare for the two years they spend there.

International Student Funding: some resources for your search

August 8th, 2014 by Maggie Pittman

If you are an international student, you may be faced with some challenges in identifying funding sources available for studying in the US. But each year, approximately half of SIPA’s students are international, and each of them has found their own way to meet the costs associated with furthering their education overseas.

As you are probably aware, SIPA offers a number of scholarships for first year students, and scholarships and assistantships for students in their second year of study. All of these awards are available to international students. All applicants for admission are automatically considered for funding during their first year, and all interested students should apply for second year funding during the application period (typically early in the spring semester). Some international students borrow student loans from private lenders while studying here (loans from the US Government are not available to international students). For more information and a list of lenders that international students at Columbia University have had success with, click here. Please note lenders require international students to have a US citizen or permanent resident as a co-signer.
SIPA’s Financial Aid Office has an extensive database of external funding opportunities; while it is not designed only for international students, it does include many awards available to international students, and that is a criteria by which you can search the database.

We also recommend that students thoroughly investigate all forms of assistance from government or private sources in their own countries. Many international students at SIPA have been supported by their governments, employers or other agencies while studying here. There are also resources available from entities in the United States and elsewhere that may be helpful, and the following websites contain information that may be of use to international students seeking funding (and it’s not too early to start looking now for second year funding opportunities):