About the Program

Columbia’s Global Center Rio in partnership with the Picker Center for Executive Education and Training of the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) offered Leadership in a Challenging Century.

The objective of this program was to offer experienced public sector managers a comprehensive framework that would be useful to them in solving problems and improving results. The framework has various important dimensions. First, it is designed to be global in nature, drawing upon “best practices” in management drawn from Columbia’s experience in different parts of the world. Second, it covers various sectors within government including health, education, and urban planning. Third, the program emphasizes the need for training in interpersonal skills. Fourth, the framework devotes special care and attention to the primacy of ethics in public management.

In order to deliver this comprehensive framework, Columbia University professors, as well as invited practitioners, addressed a large variety of subject areas including: Leaders and Public-Private Partnerships, Public Ethics, Communication in Organizations, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, and Competitiveness, among others. Each lecture was carefully coordinated with an appropriate site visit so that the lessons in the classroom can be illustrated by real-world examples.

Download the Brochure


Program Requirements

  1. Complete application form (online)
  2. Bachelor’s degree
  3. At least 3-5 years of managerial experience in government or the private sector
  4. Personal statement (up to 400 words)
  5. Resume View resume sample
  6. Language proficiency (English)

Program Structure

Program format:

In-person sessions on the Columbia Campus in Manhattan
Sessions with Columbia faculty and practitioners
Classes and supplemental material in English
Academic sessions + site visits

Course Length

Total of two weeks or nine days of classes and site visits in New York City
July 23 - August 2, 2018


Certificate of Participation
(Issued by the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University)


Application fee: US$95,00
Tuition: US$6,350

Curriculum and Methodology

The Leadership in a Challenging Century program combines multiple learning methodologies – lectures, site visits, case studies and workshops – and lends itself to the most effective way of imparting knowledge to the busy manager, who is looking for professional development but does not have the time to invest in a longer-term degree.

The students will have access to online readings through Canvas – a platform used by regular Columbia students. Moreover, informal gatherings will take place in New York during the two-week course to promote valuable networking among professionals of the Leadership in a Challenging Century program.


Emerging Capital Markets
Prof. Arvid 
Lukauskas, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
This session explores the current global economic environment and conditions in emerging markets. It details the difficulties facing the world economy since the US financial crisis and great recession, including low chronic demand, slow but improving growth among developed countries, increasing capital flows, and rising trade tensions, and how these trends are likely to impact emerging markets. In addition, we examine recent developments in capital markets in emerging markets, including the emergence of robust debt markets in local currency and the development of regional capital markets in East Asia.

Leadership and Public Private Partnerships
Prof. William Eimicke, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
Leadership can make the difference between success or failure of organization, whether it is in the public, private or social sector. Leadership is also comprised of skills that can be learned and perfected. Professor Eimicke has led large public sector organizations in the United States, advised leaders from all three sectors in the United States, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, and taught leadership at Columbia University and many other universities around the world for nearly three decades. In this session, Professor Eimicke will discuss effective leadership techniques, how leaders can improve organizational performance, and cutting edge techniques for leaders in an era of global competition, including Public-Private Partnerships and Performance Management.

Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Prof. Zach Metz, School of International and Public Affairs - Columbia University
In public service, the ability to negotiate and resolve conflict skillfully is fundamental to success. While pursuing substantive goals such as deliverables, timelines, and budgets is critical, strong negotiators also understand the importance of cultivating long-term relationships with counterparts. People often feel pressured to choose between two objectives that seem mutually exclusive: either reach substantive goals or nurture the relationship capital. This presentation will help professionals address this dilemma when negotiating or addressing conflict with key counterparts.

Public Ethics
Prof. Paul Lagunes, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
Private wealth seeks to influence public power. Affluent actors often rely on lobbying and policy arguments, but they can also turn to irregular means in order to advance their interests. Bribery is only the most obvious manifestation of corruption; implicit quid pro quo deals are also possible without suitcases filled with cash. These are deals that have the potential of undermining generally valued goals, including efficiency, safety, development, distributive justice, and the rule of law. Public institutions must be willing and able to push back against excessive pressure from wealthy private actors. With this goal in mind, my course will encourage students to reflect on corruption as a harmful practice that merits opposition. I also expect students will learn to treat corruption, mainly, as an institutional problem with no single, easy solution. Solutions, however, do exist. Students will study strategies available for promoting integrity in public administration and will find that there is room for hope: good governance is possible.

Communication Strategy
Prof. Joann Baney, School of International and Public Affairs

There is a secret to successful communication:  something that separates the good presenters from the great ones, the decent facilitators from the pros, and the average writers from those who get results.  That secret is a three-pronged approach to communication strategy that can be summed up in one word: AIM:  (A) audience, (I) intent, and (M) message strategy.  This unique and highly practical approach to persuasion and influence guides participants to avoid common audience analysis traps, to save time and energy by focusing on good communication objectives, and to make the most of their message by using structuring and highlighting techniques that capture their listeners’ and readers’ attention. This session is the solid foundation for all communication including presentations, meetings, interviews, negotiations, emails, documents, etc.

Zoning Manhattan; Land Use Regulation as Negotiation
Prof. Elliott Sclar, Earth Institute, Columbia University
Manhattan land use has been regulated for over 100 years through the City's Zoning Resolution. Yet this zoning is done without a formal land use plan. Instead the zoning resolution is continually revised an attempt to balance the equity and environmental interests of the public sector with the supply and demand pressures of the private real estate market. The morning lecture will explore the history and current operation of this century old regulatory institution. Various projects will be used to illustrate the process. In the afternoon we will visit some of the major new developments around Manhattan built in conformance with this zoning and explore the impacts first hand.

Global Social Policy and Innovation
Prof. Yumi Shimabukuro, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

This session explores some of the recent developments in the areas of social policy across the globe.  It pays particular attention to the persistence of poverty amidst affluence, neoliberal reforms, and innovative social welfare solutions.


Case Collections

Filmed on location in the USA, Brazil, India, Rwanda and other sites, the Picker Center Case Collection is a collection of global cases of innovation in public policy, city management, health care, education, and development practice.  (See some cases below)

Saved by the Soil? Conservation Agriculture and Global Warming in Ghana 

Filmed on location in Ghana and USA, this report examines the debate on "conservation agriculture" and global warming. Can techniques such as "no-till farming“ work in a developing country such as Ghana? Can they help sequester carbon from the atmosphere and help solve global warming? Dramatic aerial footage from USA and Africa helps illustrate this issue.

Juntos: Building the 21st Century City Governance | This case examines the impact of the Juntos project in Brazilian municipalities and identifies actionable recommendations to raise public sector effectiveness. Juntos is a coalition of Brazil’s most prominent business leaders focused on innovating and improving local government and public service management. It represents an innovative model of a public-private-partnership, bringing together philanthropic capital, technical expertise and public leadership to develop new services in areas such as education and healthcare, designed and co-created for, and together with, citizens.

Green for Green? Private Money for Public Parks | This case examines the history of the world’s most famous and success privately run parks – NY’s Central park and Highline. With exclusives interviews with government officials and green space activists, it explores the controversies and policy issues surrounding the use of private funds to fund public spaces.

Digital India | A new Prime minister looks to set India on the path to sustainable growth via an ambitious new plan for digital inclusion. Filmed on location in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, this case explores India’s massive campaign to create a biometric database of its 1.2 billion citizens, and bring banking and other services to India’s rural masses.

Schools of Tomorrow? | Across the globe, countries have expanded free public education, but recent studies show most systems fall short of their mark in terms of educational outcomes. Filmed on location in the South Bronx, Rio and Mumbai, this case explores global efforts to make urban schools work.

e-Doctors | Web based technologies offer promising opportunities to improve health services and lower costs. While here in the US, legal and bureaucratic barriers hold back the spread of “tele-medicine,” in India an exciting experiment aims to take online medicine to the masses. Filmed on location in NY, Chennai and rural Tamil Nadu .

Methods of Payment

1. Applicants based in Brazil Money Transfer
Payments will be made in Reais. Please, contact the Global Center Rio to check the correct amount and the bank account information before you make any payments (mlp2187@columbia.edu)

You must send us the deposit receipt.

2. International students (outside Brazil) -
Please, contact the Global Center Rio in order to enquire about method of payment (mlp2187@columbia.edu)

Enrollment Process

An admission decision will be announced on May 10th,

In order to secure a place in the program, admitted students must pay an application fee of $95 and the initial deposit of US$ 3,175 (1st payment) to the Global Center by the deadline stated in the acceptance message. Both payments are non-refundable. If places are available, spots will then open up for waitlisted applicants. The Global Center Rio will contact waitlisted applicants and guide them through the enrollment process. Under no circumstances can the application fee be waived.  Students who fail to submit any payment by the deadlines forfeit their place in the entering class.

The program is subjected to a minimum number of 20 enrolled students. If the program does not reach the enrollment number, all approved candidates will be reimbursed for all payments made. Payments are made in Brazilian Reais, according to the exchange rate of the date of payment. The reimbursement will also be in Reais.


Tuition & Fees

Application fee: US $95 (non-refundable)

Tuition: US $6,350

  • Accommodation and flights not included.
  • In order to secure a place in the program, admitted students must respect the deadlines indicated in the application and enrollment process. Students with account balances will not be able to attend the program and the amounts paid will not be reimbursed.


June 1: Deadline to pay the initial deposit (1st payment)
Tuition (1st installment) US$3,175 (non-refundable)

July 1: Deadline to pay the balance (2nd payment)
Tuition (2nd installment) US$3,175 (non-refundable)