Dean’s Message

Welcome Back, SIPA! A Preview of the 2024 Spring Semester

Posted Jan 16 2024

Dear SIPA students,

Welcome back, everyone, and to our J-term students, welcome to SIPA! I hope the winter break provided you all an opportunity to relax with family and friends. As we resume classes this week, I hope that you share my excitement for 2024.

Here are some of the many things to look forward to at SIPA this spring:

Spring Programming

It is certain to be a consequential year, with upcoming elections for almost half the world’s population — in India, Indonesia, Mexico, and elsewhere — and with ongoing war and conflict in the Middle East, Ukraine, and across the globe. At SIPA this spring we will welcome a range of experts to talk about these issues and many more. Highlights will include discussions of the war in Ukraine and the peace process in Northern Ireland, a summit on AI and Elections co-sponsored by Aspen Digital, a full day of programming devoted to IGP’s forthcoming Women’s Initiative, a forum discussion on US-China relations, a joint event with ILAS on security in Latin America, a Saltzman Institute conference on the “Dark State” and managing official US secrets, and the Center on Global Energy Policy’s annual summit — and this is just a preview of what’s in store between now and Commencement in May.

Dialogue Across Difference Series

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to read President Shafik’s announcement of the campus-wide Dialogue Across Difference initiative to build our community and reinvest in our values. As part of this effort at SIPA, we will be hosting our own series of programs this spring for members of our community (which will be scheduled on Fridays whenever possible, to minimize conflict with the majority of MIA and MPA courses). Of note, Professor Seth Freeman will be hosting several workshops on negotiation and conflict management, with an eye towards encouraging open and frank dialogue, honing the art of listening, and building bridges with those with whom we disagree. These are exactly the kind of skills that will help you all to succeed as problem solvers, diplomats, executives, and peacemakers after you leave the world's leading policy school.

All told, Dialogue Across Difference will be a complement to the many groups and activities on campus already devoted to conflict resolution. I encourage you to visit SIPA’s Dialogue Across Difference webpage to learn more and sign up for upcoming events.

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For my part, I very much look forward to continuing my own luncheons with students, to meeting regularly with leaders from SIPASA and other student organizations, and to engaging with all of you on the programs above and more. As always, I encourage you to share feedback anytime, or to just say hello if you see me in IAB’s hallways.

Whether you are entering your final semester or just beginning your SIPA journey, make the most of your time here. Here’s to a productive, meaningful, and rewarding spring for us all.

Warmly yours,

Keren Signature

Keren Yarhi-Milo

Dean, School of International and Public Affairs

Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Relations

Columbia University New York, NY