Professor Pinho will be teaching at Renmin University in Beijing this summer.
Pinho explained that over the next 25 years, more than 90% of increased energy demand and consumption will come from non-OECD countries. China is already the leading consumer, and will continute to be so.
Pinho plans to meet with folks working in companies in the energy sector, which he says are the largest companies in the world, with the most innovation and investment. That’s why he finds it very important to get to know them better.
- Michelle Chahine
Aly Sanoh, PhD in Sustainable Development Candidate, expected to graduate in May 2012.
During his six years in SIPA’s PhD program, Sanoh has focused on national electricity planning in and across African countries. He has published his first two papers on this topic:
Sanoh has already made a difference in real-world policy decisions. The infrastructure modeling that he did in these papers for local and national electricity planning in Senegal and Kenya was a factor in the World Bank’s decision to finance a $20 million wind project in Senegal and a $60 million energy project in Kenya, according to him.
A central topic of his thesis has been an infrastructure development project that looks at expanding electricity networks in Africa on a continental scale by conducting economic modeling.
For example, there are security issues. The Congo has a lot of resources and little need, while South Africa has little resources and high need. However, there are risks in having your resources depend on a country that’s at war. Sanoh proposes different scenarios to minimize risks.
- Michelle Chahine
“Oil Bills: Will they erase our doubts?“ was published in the Ugandan newspaper The Daily Monitor while SIPA Professor Jenik Radon and his students were in Uganda in March doing field research for a Capstone Workshop. Professor Radon and Marie-Paule Jeansonne (MIA ‘12) are both quoted in this article, commenting on the latest draft of two petroleum bills currently being considered by the Ugandan Parliament.
Eight SIPA students have been working on a Capstone Workshop that focuses on Uganda’s “Oil Bills,” conducting research to make recommendations on ways to effectively legislate and manage newly found oil reserves.
The team’s initial comment on the legislation, which was put together by Jeansonne and Sri Swaminathan (MPA ‘12) under the guidance of Professor Radon, has been quoted in various media outlets in Uganda, including The Daily Monitor (above) and The Independent (“Parliament to pass weak laws on oil”).
The students and Professor Radon also presented their comments and recommendations in-person to 15 members of the Ugandan Parliament’s Natural Resource Committee.
The team presents its recommendations to Members of Parliament in Uganda. At right, Professor Radon and Jeansonne.
According to Professor Radon, the team’s two biggest recommendations are:
- to have a stronger system of checks and balances, with an emphasis on transparency;
- not to concentrate decision-making in one individual
During their time in Uganda in mid-March, the team also organized meetings with individuals from government ministries, members of Parliament (governing and opposition), civil society, Ugandan citizens, international donors, foreign embassies, and international and local media.
“We tried to identify what they see as the biggest issues and problems,” said Jeansonne. “By then, we already had ideas about what our recommendations would be, so our field trip was a good chance to test them. We had to make sure our report was something that could be actionable and something Ugandans could relate to.”
While Nithin Coca (MIA ‘12), Kazumi Kawamoto (MIA ‘12), Ida Dokk Smith (MIA ‘12) and Frithiof August Wilhelmsen (MIA ‘13) conducted interviews in the capital city Kampala, Chitra Choudhury (MIA/Journalism ‘12) and Frazer Lanier (MIA ‘12) travelled to the resource-rich “oil belt” region of Hoima, which shares a border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Choudhury and Lanier in Hoima.
“We conducted interviews with both local authorities and residents,” said Choudhury, “people who might be displaced, fishing communities that might be affected… We were trying to understand how far-removed people on the ground are from what’s going on in Parliament. It added an extra layer of understanding on the issues.”
Professor Radon added that one of the major images that has stuck in his mind from the students’ field research is that “the elephants are leaving” due to the drilling and vibrations.
“That’s something we found,” said Choudhury, “the environmental impact wasn’t being studied. The government is doing that now, with the help of NORAD [the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation].”
“You have to consider the full impacts,” Professor Radon added. “The importance of such a trip is you discover information from the locals. For example, there is a greater influx of fishing because of roads being built and increased access to [Lake Albert]. There’s overfishing, too much to be sustainable…. So these are the unintended consequences that you can only see on the ground.”
Jeansonne emphasized that because most of the oil drilling is on land, there are “grave implications for human rights, because people will be displaced.” This raises questions about compensation, how people should be displaced, and whether they should be displaced in the first place.
“Developing extractive industries is difficult to do in the best of circumstances,” Radon said. “So these questions need to be answered in the right way.”
- Michelle Chahine
Managing New York City
New York City Deputy Mayor of Operations Caswell Holloway visited SIPA on Thursday, February 23, 2012 as part of the Urban and Social Policy Speaker Series. He discussed a wide range of topics related to running “the world’s best city,” including the budget, public service, water, energy and sustainability.
Holloway began his address by saying that overall, his job is to draw as little attention to himself as possible.
“No one notices operations unless something goes wrong,” he said.
He then explained his goals for long term planning and management, focusing on four reasons people want to live in New York City: public service and customer service, infrastructure and human capital, sustainability, and innovation and efficiency.
“It’s about shifting the burden,” he said. “It’s up to the city to get our act together.”
Holloway described various initiatives the city government is planning to push through before Mayor Bloomberg leaves office in 2013, including improving customer service, especially for entrepreneurs, repairing the Delaware Aqueduct, and fixing the city’s sewage system because it gets overwhelmed when it rains.
“It’s not just about coming up with something innovative,” he said, “but implementing it requires structural changes and a degree of planning that gets right down to the lot level.
Holloway also discussed various energy and sustainability projects, such as breaking ground for a new natural gas pipeline running through the Rockaways, decreasing energy demand, and increasing recycling and composting.
“How do you make sustainability into the DNA of New York City?” Holloway asked the audience. “By integrating it into the budget… Probably the most important question is, how do we ensure this stuff [continues]? It’s very easy to undo things. The candidates in the upcoming elections have to be asked point blank: what are you going to do to address this or that?”
He ended with a warning to New Yorkers:
“Don’t get complacent,” he said. “You can be sure that a small group of people who have their own interests will be very involved in who the next mayor is. The question is, will that include you?”
This event was live-tweeted. For more highlights and quotes from Holloway’s address, click here.
- Michelle Chahine
SIPA’s annual Alumni Day will feature a new set of events, as the school’s first-ever official reunions will take place on Saturday evening, April 28th.
The reunions will focus on those who graduated from SIPA five and ten years ago, with the fifth-year reunion focusing on the classes of 2006 and 2007, while the tenth-year reunion is intended for the SIPA classes of 2001 and 2002. These special gatherings will take place near the Columbia University campus, following the Alumni Day programming. Information will be sent to members of these classes shortly.
This year’s Alumni Day will take place at the Columbia University Faculty House from 11am to 4pm on April 28th. Panel discussions will cover a range of topics of interest to SIPA alumni, including a look at the 2012 election, and the impact of social media on political protests.
In addition, the Program on Economic Policy Management (PEPM) will host special events to celebrate its 20th anniversary this year, including panels at Alumni Day, as well as a day of events on the Friday prior and a dinner celebration on Saturday evening.
The schedule of alumni-related activities begins on Thursday, April 26th, with the annual Global Leadership Awards Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental. This year’s dinner honors former SIPA dean Lisa Anderson, philanthropist Howard G. Buffett, and Pete Peterson, chairman emeritus of the Council of Foreign Relations.
Information on Alumni Day and the Global Leadership Awards Dinner are currently being distributed to alumni.
As international attention focused on Haiti after the devastating earthquake in January 2010, at least two teams of SIPA students focused their 2011 Capstone workshops on Haiti.
One team of six students did their Workshop in Development Practice on the Haitian Diaspora and education reform in Haiti. The project was commissioned by the Bureau of Haiti’s Special Envoy to the United Nations and the Social Science Research Council. Read the full report here.
- Photo Wendy L. Carlson (MIA ‘11)
According to Juontel White (MIA ‘12), a students on the team, this project was inspired by the mass response efforts to the earthquake. She explained that many observers were interested in the role and involvement of the Haitian Diaspora - Haitians displaced from their homeland. Therefore, after consultations with their clients, the students decided to focus their research on the Haitian Diaspora in the United States, specifically with regards to education reform in Haiti.
The team conducted dozens of interviews via Skype with members of the Haitian Diaspora in the U.S. A few students also traveled to Boston and Miami, where there are large communities, to conduct interviews in person.
In Boston, White interviewed a Haitian Diaspora teacher in the Boston Public School system who taught bilingual students that had moved to the U.S.
“[This project] opened my mind to the world of diaspora,” said White. “I think in the media, in development work, they get over-shadowed a lot. It’s international organizations who get the attention. In our interviews, we saw a lot of Haitians do a lot for their country. And that’s amazing to me.”
“It was also very inspiring,” added White (right), describing teachers that she and her teammates met. Many ready to take part in exchange programs, as well as vocational education and training programs, which the team recommended in their final report.
“While some of our recommendations are vague, about strengthening the Haitian Diaspora in general,” explained White, “Some are very practical, and it’s just a matter of getting funding for them to be implemented. Those would make a big impact.”