This is the first in this year’s series of posts by PhD students on the job market.
The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) annually brings together "more than 1,000 prominent education, corporate, political and social leaders from over 100 countries to explore how collaboration in many forms and at many levels can become the driving force of efforts to inspire innovation in education and to design long-term strategies for its renewal". Now it its fourth year, WISE is one high profile example of how the small but natural gas-rich Middle Eastern nation of Qatar is seeking to establish itself as a locus for discussion and dialogue on a number of key global issues (another example is the hosting of next week's global climate change conference), with a particular interest in education (in addition to WISE, Qatar is also home to Education City) and sport (in addition to high profile Qatari sponsorship of the FC Barcelona jerseys and investment in the French soccer club PSG, the country will host the 2022 World Cup.)
The annual WISE Prize for Education, which comes with a gold medal and USD $500,000 and was awarded this year to Madhav Chavan of the Indian NGO Pratham, is an attempt to, in the words of the sponsoring Qatar Foundation, "[raise the] status of education by giving it similar prestige to other areas for which major international awards exist such as science, literature, peace and economics". (Think of the WISE Prize as a sort of Nobel Prize or Fields Medal for education and you'll get a sense of the ambition at work here.)
Sophisticated campaign communication (an important part of political communication) is a field both invented and dominated by American practitioners and scholars. When I ask my associates in the field why this is so, the reason they usually give me is the sheer quantity and frequency of democratic elections in the American political system. Therefore, they point out, human and material resources have been poured into the science and the art of winning election campaigns. What is important for our purposes is that the practices of American political communicators tend to spread worldwide... like much else in American culture. Politicians in newly democratizing polities have for decades now invited American political consultants to help them run and win elections. Local specialists have also mushroomed, many of them trained by the American universities who offer amazingly good degrees in communication, particularly political communication. If you are interested in campaign communication as a global phenomenon, a good place to start is Fritz Plasser's Global Political Campaigning: A Worldwide Analysis of Campaign Professionals and Their Practices (2002).
My bet is that at least two aspects of the recently concluded presidential election campaign in the United States -- a spectacular showcase of political communication at work -- will prove influential globally. President Obama was re-elected and it was a big win, but for campaign communication two methods won big victories of their own and they are likely to be flattered with imitation worldwide. They are as follows:
You are walking inside a mall when suddenly you feel the call of nature. What do you do? You desperately look for signs pointing to the nearest toilet. But what if you are not in the mall? What if you are in an unfamiliar place, then what? Worse, what if you are on the road in a remote location?
Fortunately, there’s an app for this kind of emergency. The Imodium Toilet Tracker is a handy thing to have. With just one check on your smart phone, your problem is solved – a toilet is located for you and a crisis is averted. After finding a toilet however, the next thing you would be concerned about is the availability of toilet paper and/or running water.
Timothy Taylor, Managing Editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, re-posts a classic Thanksgiving blog on turkey supply and demand from last November on the Conversable Economist. Read it here.
‘Purchasing power parity wages and inflation in emerging markets and developing countries’ is the topic of a new Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR) working paper by Ashima Goyal that explores the puzzle of the persistent deviation of real exchange rates from purchasing power parity (PPP) values. According to the paper, the conundrum exists because nominal shocks, which cause such deviation, are expected to have only short-run effects. Balassa Samuelson (BS) explains what happens when some goods are non-traded and looks at price differences in advanced economies. However, consistently higher inflation in emerging or developing economies presents separate challenges. Goyal presents a framework that grapples with this, drawing on the case of India.
- weekly roundup
The next time you're in a new city, maybe jet-lagged, try to wake-up early and take a walk: The earlier the better. Watch as the city wakes, the merchants restock their shelves and workers take away the waste. Street sweepers and garbage collectors take advantage of the quiet streets; people open offices and stores; the calm before the rush. Perhaps your hotel is near a market – check out how early the bakers and farmers start working. A few newspapers are still delivered before the sun rises.
While walking and watching the city wake, also look beneath your feet. There the pipes deliver water and gas; sewers take away wastewater. And if you’re in Europe most of the electricity is delivered through underground piping as well (strange how cities in the US and Canada, where hurricanes are common, have most power lines above ground, while Europe, with fewer storms but more concern for aesthetics, have most power lines buried).
In our book, “ Greenprint: A new approach to cooperation on climate change,” Arvind Subramanian and I propose a new grand bargain to revive climate talks ahead of the next Conference of the Parties (COP) in Doha. To read chapter one of the book and view our video, click here.
These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
“The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project includes data on how these changes affect news about political, economic, and social affairs. Visit the Open Society Foundations’ website to see the full version of each country’s report.
CIMA worked with the Open Society Foundations to identify the most important digital media indicators in the series of reports. The mapping tool allows for the visualization of these indicators from each report and enables the comparison of digital media penetration in various countries. Please note that some data from the reports has been recalculated to ensure that comparable data is presented in the map.” READ MORE
ICT for WASH and public service delivery
“In June, two organisations focussed on using ICT (Information and Communications Technology) in the water and sanitation sector joined forces in Cape Town. SeeSaw, a social enterprise that customises ICT to support sanitation and water providers and iComms, a University of Cape Town research unit (Information for Community Oriented Mu nicipal Services) co-hosted a two day event to look at how ICT tools are changing the way that public services function in developing countries.
There are growing expectations that harnessing ICT intelligently can bring about radical improvements in the way that health, education and other sectors function, particularly in developing countries. SeeSaw and iComms wanted to look at this in more detail – and to build on the open sharing of experience to provide general principles to those planning to harness ICT for public service delivery. Their overarching goal is to help practitioners cut through much of the complexity and hype surrounding ICT usage and give them a robust set of guidelines with which to plan and negotiate partnerships and projects on the ground.” READ MORE
On Nov. 7, 2012, a motorboat carrying 110 illegal immigrants heading for Malaysia capsized in the Bay of Bengal close to Bangladesh’s southeastern border with Myanmar. This tragedy came less than a fortnight after a boat with more than 135 passengers capsized in the same area. “Boat capsized with illegal immigrants from Bangladesh” is a recurring story, with Thailand, Malaysia, and other Southeast Asian countries the destinations of illegal work seekers. What makes Bangladeshis resort to such extreme methods of migration?
The demand and expectation for concrete policy learning from impact evaluation are high. Quite often we don’t want to know only the basic question that IE addresses: “what is the impact of intervention X on outcome Y in setting Z”. We also want to know the why and the how behind these observed impacts. But these why and how questions, for various reasons often not explicitly incorporated in the IE design, can be particularly challenging.