March 13, 2020


A delegation from SIPA attended the 2020 GPPN Conference in London.
A delegation from SIPA attended the 2020 GPPN Conference in London.

A delegation from SIPA joined peers from around the world at the annual conference of the Global Public Policy Network, held in London on February 29. The event, which focused on Global Innovative Public Policy Solutions, convened student and faculty representatives from leading policy schools including SIPA; the host School of Public Policy at LSE; and GPPN members from São Paulo, Singapore, and Tokyo.

Since GPPN’s founding in 2005, the annual conference has given students and administrators a welcome opportunity to consider contemporary issues of global public policy and network with colleagues.

The 2020 edition once again featured a competition in which participating student teams identifed and presented creative solutions to pressing policy challenges. Also included were presentations by SIPA’s SDG Fellows, who—along with students at other GPPN schools pursuing the SDG Professional Certificate—just completed a year-long program developing innovative solutions to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals with educational and professional modules in Paris, New York, and London.

Representing SIPA’s administration and faculty were Dean Merit E. Janow and Dean of Students Cory Way. Professor Glenn Denning, who directs the MPA in Development Practice program, served as scientific adviser to participants.

Updated March 24: The following account was prepared by Zulpha Styer MPA ’20, one of this year’s participating students, for SIPA’s Admissions Blog.

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  SIPA colleagues 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.

We were accompanied by SIPA teams who had been selected to take part 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 behavioral 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.