Archive for professor

A Peek into the ‘Gender and Armed Conflict’ Class

This semester I enrolled in a new course offered by SIPA’s Gender a Public Policy Specialization called Gender and Armed Conflict: Contemporary Theory and Practice for Advocates. The course is taught by Lisa Davis who is a Clinical Professor of Law for the Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic at CUNY School of Law. She has worked extensively in the field of human rights, gender and LGBTQ rights, particularly in conflict and disaster settings.

As part of the course, each student is writing a report on a particular human rights issue for women and LGBTQ persons in the context of the ISIS conflict. Our findings will be compiled into three jointly published reports that will be submitted to the international community, specifically The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, The U.N. Security Council, and the International Criminal Court.

Our research for these reports also involves interviews with relevant international conflict experts and local advocates working in Iraq and Syria. Professor Davis has been working with international human rights organizations such as MADRE, as well as local organizations in Iraq and Syria to address these issues, and she has several contacts that we can use for these interviews. These interviews will help to inform our analysis so we write a report that accurately reflects the realities on the ground.

A couple of weeks ago, two Iraqi advocates came to class to discuss their work and the difficulties they face protecting women and LGBTQ persons in Iraq. We had the opportunity to ask them questions that were relevant to our respective reports, and to discuss what they believed would be most important to include in the report. It was incredible to be able to hear from people that are on the ground providing services for women and LGBTQ persons, and to hear their inspirational stories. We will also have visits from advocates from Syria to discuss their experiences in relation to the ISIS conflict.

Professor Davis’s experience as a practitioner has enriched our class and helps to bring our studies out of the theoretical realm and into the real world. Once we are finished with this course, we will be able to say we gained the skills necessary to conduct interviews, and to write a report that will be submitted to an international body. Professor Davis also stresses the importance of remembering that these reports will have a real impact on the advocates in Iraq and Syria that are working every day to protect women and LGBTQ persons.

Classes like this are what make the SIPA experience so special. Being able to submit a report to a high level international body on an issue I am particularly passionate about is not your everyday experience in graduate school, and I am honored that I have the opportunity to participate in this process. The Gender and Armed Conflict course at SIPA is just one of many courses that provide this type of real-world experience, allowing students a peek at what their professional careers might involve.

If you’re interested in previewing this class or another, sign up for a class visit here.

[Photo courtesy of Lisa Davis]

MDP Professor Glenn Denning discusses gene editing, food

SIPA Professor Glenn Denning was featured on Popular Science’s website in, “GENE EDITING SHIFTS FOOD POSSIBILITIES FORWARD”. Here’s the beginning of the piece, and make sure you take a look at the rest of the article, too!

The aisles of your corner grocery may look mundane. But as you walk past the stacks of cherries and blueberries, the ears of corn and bottles of white wine, consider that you are witnessing a race against time.

Every day, our planet grows a little hotter and a little more crowded. Every day, we need to grow more food in the face of more hostile conditions. Every day, scientists are racing to develop tougher crops that can withstand growing heat, drought and ferocious storms to feed a growing population.

“Our existing varieties of crops, our existing seeds, are not necessarily well-adapted to the new environment,” said Glenn Denning, a professor of development policy at Columbia University. “We have to look elsewhere.”

The race never stops. It plays out year after year, in our laboratories, on our farms and along the aisles of our supermarkets. We have managed to stay one step ahead largely due to human ingenuity.

The quest for a more perfect crop is about to take a quantum leap. Scientists have developed a breakthrough technology that will allow us to develop new crops built for a harsher climate.

It’s called gene editing and it could prove vital to our survival in a warmer world.


5 Brexit questions with Economist Jan Svejnar

From Columbia News, June 24, 2016:

The fallout from Brexit, the British exit from the European Union, was nearly immediate. Every global market sank. British Prime Minister David Cameron resigned. A large U.S. investment bank announced it would move 2,000 jobs out of London to either Dublin or Frankfurt, the credit agency Standard & Poor’s said that the Britain would lose its AAA rating while Moody’s lowered its rating to negative from stable.

More shoes are still to drop, according to Jan Svejnar, the James T. Shotwell Professor of Global Political Economy at the School of International and Public Affairs. While he knew the vote would be close, he believed that Britons would ultimately stay. He was surprised the leave vote was as strong as it was, 52 percent to 48 percent.

The repercussions will be significant. “I think we are seeing the unraveling of Great Britain,” he said. Scotland, which two years ago voted no on an independence referendum, will probably opt for a new one. Northern Ireland could do the same. “We may be going from Great Britain to small England.”

Here, Svejnar answers five questions about what will happen now that Britain is withdrawing from the EU.

Q. What happens next?

A. We are already seeing the first impacts, the gyrations in the stock markets and foreign exchange markets. I think that may continue for a while. Next will come a first round of tough political decisions. German chancellor Angela Merkel will be getting together with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and French president Francois Hollande to prepare a statement and stake out their approach to the British decision.

Q. What kind of approach might that be?

A. They have to negotiate a separation, which won’t be easy. If it is done too fast and too vigorously, it could alienate other EU nations, who may insist the rest of the 25 members should have been consulted rather than having a particular solution designed by the leaders of only those three countries shoved down their throats. There are free trade policies and immigration pacts and a swath of EU regulations that must be unraveled or replaced. The EU won’t want to make it easy for Britain to leave, they don’t want this to set a precedent for other countries.

Q. What kind of economic fallout do you foresee?

A. There are two years to negotiate the exit, unless markets destabilize to such an extent that they can’t afford to take that long. All the agreements between the EU and Britain must be renegotiated. There may be a substantial relocation of capital from Britain. London could lose its status as a global hub of finance, and I’ve already heard that some banks are looking to move their headquarters.

Q. How does this affect the rest of Europe, or the world?

A. Britain is now the second largest economy in the EU, and the most outward oriented. There is a chance that Europe itself gets destabilized, because now other governments may ask for exceptions and exemptions from EU regulations. If that happens, Europe may not look to be as friendly a place to invest in, and investors may look to other parts of the world. Also, other nations will be cautious about raising interest rates, to make sure there is no economic contagion.

Q. Is there any chance that this can be reversed?

A. In principle, yes. It takes a vote of Parliament for the decision to become final. Parliament could conceivably go against the referendum, but the vote was 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent. It would be hard for it to say this was just a joke. Given that David Cameron has already resigned, I don’t see that this can be stopped.

[Photo by Bruce Gilbert]

Unpacking the Development Practioner’s Lab within the MPA-DP program

One of the key reasons why I chose the MPA-Development Practice program at SIPA was its focus on building hard skills through workshops and innovative teaching methods that I would use later on in my professional career. Read More →

White House Official Jason Bordoff joins SIPA

Jason Bordoff, a special assistant to President Obama and senior director for energy and climate change on the staff of the National Security Council, has joined Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, SIPA officials announced. Bordoff will join the faculty as a professor of professional practice and will serve as director of SIPA’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

One of the nation’s top energy policy experts, Bordoff also held senior policy roles in the White House’s National Economic Council and Council on Environmental Quality. He joined the Obama administration in April 2009.

“I’m thrilled to join the Columbia faculty and to build the Center on Global Energy Policy,” Bordoff said. “As we have seen, there are few policy issues more important on the world stage. Energy policy has a profound impact on the global economy and geopolitics. As someone who has relied on academic and think-tank analysis to help inform policy decisions, I know there is a need for more independent, rigorous analysis of the energy policy choices that our leaders face. And there are few places better positioned than Columbia to fill that need, with its world-class reputation, New York location, highly international student body and faculty, and depth and strength in a wide range of disciplines.

To read Jason Bordoff’s biography, click here.

"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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