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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

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Listen in to all of the events hosted by Northwestern University's Buffett Institute for Global Affairs. We believe that relationships – among individuals and institutions, globally and locally – can fuel knowledge and develop solutions to global challenges. The views and opinions expressed within our podcast episodes are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Buffett Institute for Global Affairs.
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Survey evidence from 16 developing countries shows widespread employment loss and declines in income and food security since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. These patterns are apparent in Ghana. In this Northwestern Buffett "Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities" webinar, Chris Udry, professor of Economics at Northwestern University, and Robert Darko Osei, vice dean for the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Ghana, discuss the effect on workers of the COVID lockdown policies implemented in urban areas, and the organization of a program of mobile money transfers to individuals in poor households.They will discuss the dynamic effects of lockdowns on employment. They will show how substantial, randomized mobile money transfers affected social distancing, food security, and work patterns. Further, they will discuss how reliance on mobile money restricted the reach of the program to those with access to mobile phones but allowed for useful characterization of excluded populations.Chris Udry: Robert E. and Emily King Professor of Economics at Northwestern University. He is a development economist whose research focuses on rural economic activity in Sub-Saharan Africa. His current research includes directing the first long-term, nationwide socioeconomic panel survey of individuals across Ghana (in collaboration with the University of Ghana); randomized evaluations of a variety of governmental and NGO-led development programs in West Africa; work on household organization, risk, information flows and agriculture in Mali and Ghana; and the role of psychological well-being on economic decision-making.Robert Darko Osei: Associate Professor in the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, Legon, and also the Vice Dean for the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Ghana. Robert has published widely in edited volumes and top international journals. His main areas of research include evaluative poverty and rural research, macro and micro implications of fiscal policies, aid effectiveness and other economic development policy concerns. He is currently involved in a number of research projects in Ghana, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali. This webinar is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities series. This and other spring 2021 webinars focused on UN SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities are co-sponsored by the Northwestern University Community for Human Rights (NUCHR).
Mexico and Colombia have been theaters of the war on drugs for half a century, yet both Latin American countries continue to be two of the largest producers of illegal drugs in the world, where many regions are hellscapes of violence, corruption and inequality. Why do governments keep insisting on a strategy that has consistently failed according to its stated aims?In this Northwestern Buffett "Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities" webinar, historian Lina Britto and journalist Dawn Marie Paley will break down dominant myths around narcotrafficking and the war on drugs to explore how illegal drug economies and regimes of prohibition in Mexico and Colombia have been crucial aspects of statemaking; creating and maintaining multiple forms of injustice over time. Dawn Marie Paley is a journalist and author of Drug War Capitalism (2014) and Guerra Neoliberal: desaparición y búsqueda en el norte de México (2020). She regularly collaborates with Pie de Página and La Jornada in Mexico City, and in 2018 completed a PhD in Sociology from the Autonomous University of Puebla, in Puebla, México, where she is based.Lina Britto is associate professor of History at Northwestern University and the author of Marijuana Boom: The Rise and Fall of Colombia’s First Drug Paradise (2020). She obtained her PhD degree in History from New York University, NYU, was a faculty fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, Harvard University, and regularly collaborates with El Espectador (Colombia). She lives in Chicago.This webinar is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities series. This and other spring 2021 webinars focused on UN SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities are co-sponsored by the Northwestern University Community for Human Rights (NUCHR).
The last few years have seen a shift in the global balance of power due to evolving political and economic interests. What are the implications of these shifts on existing trade relationships between and amongst countries in the Global South, and what role will the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union play? How do we assess the implications of the economic landscape in Africa and the Diaspora against a backdrop of historical extractive and exploitative practices that governed Africa's relationship with countries in the Global North? Is it possible to imagine a new economic framework that moves beyond our historical dichotomies and embodies cultural values and practices that benefit everyone?In this Northwestern Buffett "Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities" webinar, using the advent of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a backdrop, Dr. Amara Enyia, Managing Director of Diaspora Rising, will explore issues related to historically exploitative trade and economic practices in Africa and the Caribbean. Dr. Amara will examine systems being built around the world—in part due to COVID-19 and in part due to skyrocketing inequality—that highlight how those dynamics are shifting, how new post-COVID trade agreements can evolve, and how countries are leaning in to notions of self-sufficiency and self-determination.Dr. Amara Enyia is a Strategist, Public Policy Expert and Social Impact professional on city and state policy as well as international affairs with expertise in Africa, Latin America, and Central Asia.She is the Managing Director of Diaspora Rising, a transnational media and advocacy hub that works to strengthen bonds amongst the global Black family. She also serves as the Policy and Research Coordinator for the Movement for Black Lives and as a Strategy Advisor for organizations, companies, political campaigns, and public sector institutions globally. Her work has connected her to the 6th Region of the African Union Commission and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Dr. Enyia is a member of the 2020-2022 cohort at the London School of Economics Executive Program in Cities. Prior to her current roles, she worked in the Mayor’s Office for the City of Chicago, and served as Executive Director of community-based organizations. As a grassroots organizer, she worked on issues of education equity, economic justice, and environmental justice.This webinar is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities series. This and other spring 2021 webinars focused on UN SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities are co-sponsored by the Northwestern University Community for Human Rights (NUCHR).
Primarily focused on economic inequality, United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #10, “Reduced Inequalities,” also aims to “empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic or other status.” Yet today’s global inequities possess long legacies of systemically generated and sustained efforts to benefit the few to the serious detriment of the many, often the world’s Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. What historical movements created such drastic disparities? Which social structures continue to uphold or even exacerbate them? What myths of progress abound, and to what ends? In this panel, Northwestern University professors Doug Kiel, Simone Ispa-Landa, and Katrina Quisumbing King will discuss the imperialist, white supremacist heritage of - and persisting principles underlying - our existing realities and will highlight the sparks of possibility for future justice.This webinar is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities series, which focuses on a different United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) each quarter with SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities being the focus of spring 2021.
According to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, climate change has disproportionately exacerbated many challenges global Indigenous communities face, including political and economic marginalization, loss of land and resources, human rights violations, discrimination, and unemployment. Yet despite these challenges and despite the contributions Indigenous Peoples make towards effective environmental governance, Indigenous voices and perspectives have been historically marginalized in global climate debates and discourse. As climate change continues to threaten the survival of Indigenous communities worldwide, the need to respect and integrate Indigenous contributions to global climate negotiations is critical.In this Northwestern Buffett "Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities" webinar, Signe Leth, senior advisor at the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, Indigenous Women & Land Rights, Asia program, joins Northwestern University assistant professor of political science Kimberly Marion Suiseeya for a conversation drawing distinct connections between land rights, Indigenous rights, and climate governance to demonstrate the centrality of Indigenous rights in addressing both climate change and advancing justice.This webinar is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities series, which focuses on a different United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) each quarter.This and other Winter 2021 webinars focused on SDG 13: Climate Action are co-sponsored by the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) and sustainNU.
How can we "read" or understand policy responses to climate change? We can "read forwards," drawing on scientific evidence and reasoning to project consequences and dictate policy responses. Or we can "read backwards"; we can look to the human beliefs, values, and goals that impute meaning to the world to understand the many lines of evidence and reasoning leading to policy responses. University of Cambridge professor of human geography Michael Hulme will discuss the power of "reading backwards" and the importance of embedding "climate actions" inside human stories, both dominant and marginalized.Hulme's work illuminates the numerous ways in which the idea of climate-change is deployed in public, political, religious and scientific discourse, exploring both its historical, cultural and scientific origins and its contemporary meanings. He is the author of nine books on climate change, including Why We Disagree About Climate Change (CUP, 2009). From 2000 to 2007, he was the Founding Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.This webinar is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities series, which focuses on a different United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) each quarter.This and other Winter 2021 webinars focused on SDG 13: Climate Action are co-sponsored by the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) and sustainNU.
Can environmental activism save the world? And if it can, how? This webinar features perspectives on the future of environmental activism and the role of activism in shaping global environmental outcomes, including combating climate change. Northwestern Professor of Management and Organizations Brayden King will be joined by Phil Radford (Founder, Progressive Multiplier) and Kady McFadden (Deputy Director, Illinois Sierra Club) for a conversation about the need for collective action to alleviate the perils of the current environmental crisis -- and the obstacles such action may face.This webinar is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities series, which focuses on a different United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) each quarter.This and other Winter 2021 webinars focused on SDG 13: Climate Action are co-sponsored by the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) and sustainNU.
Many observers expect that Joe Biden’s presidency will quickly restore federal climate change measures and reverse the U.S. withdrawal from international commitments that we witnessed over the past four years. Many hope for substantial new domestic efforts—some sort of "new green deal"—and for the United States to fuel far-reaching international cooperation around climate change. Are those expectations warranted or unrealistic? What can we expect from the new administration? A panel of Northwestern University faculty experts will discuss these questions from U.S. and international perspectives.Panelists:Anto Mohsin - Assistant Professor in Residence in the Liberal Arts Program at Northwestern University in QatarMar Reguant - Associate Professor of Economics at Northwestern UniversityMary McGrath - Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northwestern UniversityMichael Barsa - Co-Director of the Environmental Law Concentration at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of LawModerated by Klaus Weber, Thomas G. Ayers Chair in Energy Resource Management at the Kellogg School of Management and Deputy Director at Northwestern Buffett. This webinar is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities series, which focuses on a different United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) each quarter.This and other Winter 2021 webinars focused on SDG 13: Climate Action are co-sponsored by the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) and sustainNU.
How are racial boundaries defined, and who decides where they lie? What aspects of power and privilege are at work in designing the rules that rule race? Why do states make and manipulate racial classification schema, and with what effects? Northwestern University Associate Professor of African American Studies Dr. Barnor Hesse was joined by Dr. Debra Thompson, Associate Professor of Political Science at McGill University, for a dialogue about the racial state and the politics and structures that create, shape, and maintain it.This session is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities webinar series.
Many observers are excited that Joe Biden’s presidency promises to bring international cooperation back into American foreign policy, but whose interests are advanced and whose are harmed by international agreements? While international cooperation is often presented as a smart, pragmatic and progressive approach, a closer look reveals some reasons to worry.Northwestern University Weinberg College Center for International and Area Studies Director and Political Science Professor, Ian Hurd, and European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights Program Manager, Jonas Grimheden, will highlight the potential of international agreements and pitfalls of international cooperation that looks more like coercion or heavy-handedness during this Northwestern Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs webinar.This is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities webinar series.
Islamophobia is commonly understood to be part of the aftershock of 9/11, but surfaced as a category at the beginning of the 20th century at the height of white supremacy. What does the re-appearance of Islamophobia tell us about white supremacy now?Northwestern University Associate Professor of African American Studies Barnor Hesse will be joined by Salman Sayyid, Professor of Social Theory and Decolonial Thought at the University of Leeds, for a conversation about the history and globality of Islamophobia and why it is a form of racism. This is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities webinar series.
As the United States struggles to resist the crumbling of its institutions in the face of polarization and populism, Ukraine struggles to surpass corruption and foreign domination—including corruption in which wealthy Americans have participated. In some respects, the two countries appear to be converging. What can each country learn from the crises of the other? Northwestern University Professor of Law Paul Gowder will be joined by Dmytro Vovk, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Rule of Law and Religion Studies at Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University in Ukraine, for a U.S. Election Day discussion about degradation of the rule of law and the erosion of democracy.This is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities webinar series.
The year 2020 has brought about global insecurity in unprecedented and inexplicable ways. This webinar will take the Arab World, primarily Syria and Lebanon, as a place from which to think about insecurity and crisis. How are these lived? What does it mean to be living-in-crisis and with constant insecurity? How do people imagine their futures when their present is incommensurable?In this Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs webinar, Villanova University Associate Professor of Global Interdisciplinary Studies Samer Abboud and Northwestern University Associate Professor of Anthropology Sami Hermez will think through the possibilities for transformative change to bring about collective security. They will also examine how this change is limited by forms of regional and international intervention into the different conflicts that serve to perpetuate, rather than alleviate, insecurity.This is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities webinar series.
Why do racial injustices, racial inequalities and racial disparities in liberal democracies persist over time without structural redress? Why has the U.S. found itself in every generation since Reconstruction indicted by Black citizens for anti-Blackness, despite foundational claims to liberty and equality as universal ideas and practices? Why has police violence against Black citizens been recurrently and generationally protested by Black citizens in the post-civil rights era? Northwestern University Associate Professor of African American Studies Barnor Hesse discusses these questions and more in a webinar that asks us to consider the role of white sovereignty in maintaining the structural law of racial rule.This is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Building Sustainable Futures: Global Challenges and Possibilities webinar series.
More than 2.2 million people are currently incarcerated in the United States, over 20% of the world’s 10.35 million imprisoned people. As of mid-June, at least 46,249 people in United States prisons tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 548 incarcerated people died from the virus. Five of the U.S.’s top 10 hot spots are prisons or jails, including Chicago’s very own Cook County Jail. What can we understand about pandemics and public health in prisons from the country with the world’s largest prison population? Northwestern philosophy professor and director of the Northwestern Prison Education Program (NPEP) Jennifer Lackey and Executive Director of the Uptown People’s Law Center Alan Mills will discuss how prison conditions and a history of mass incarceration have led to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on incarcerated men and women in the U.S. They will address the causes and consequences of this deadly combination, share comparative data from other countries, and suggest paths for mitigating the effects of future global pandemics on prison populations. They will be joined by NPEP student Antonio McDowell, who will share his firsthand account of living through COVID-19 at Stateville Correctional Center, one of the nation’s earliest hotspots.   This is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Confronting COVID-19: Global Implications and Futures webinar series.
Marwan M. Kraidy, a leading authority on Arab media and incoming dean and CEO of Northwestern University-Qatar (NU-Q), will give a tour d’horizon of the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on media and geopolitics.This webinar will focus on rival media narratives that have emerged as the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in late 2019 turned into a pandemic by March 2020. There has been a perceptible shift in how politicians speak about security, borders and identity. Is this a return to hard sovereignty? What do new emerging boundaries—physical, political, affective—mean for our understanding of identity and geopolitics? Will our understanding and appreciation of globalization shift? What are the implications of the “war of words” between the U.S. and China for the post-pandemic world order? How will U.S. global influence be affected by the pandemic?This is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Confronting COVID-19: Global Implications and Futures webinar series.
Months into the novel coronavirus pandemic, researchers around the world are working to understand its effects on people’s attitudes and behaviors. How do people feel about isolation and lockdowns? What kinds of media are we consuming, and how do those media affect our knowledge of COVID-19 and our social distancing practices? What are people willing to sacrifice for the economy? Northwestern University assistant professor of sociology Beth Redbird spoke about her efforts to find answers to these and other questions through an ongoing large-scale, nationally representative panel survey she is leading in conjunction with a team of interdisciplinary researchers. Redbird discussed the topics being surveyed, present some early findings and outline next steps. She was  joined by Tymofii Brik, an assistant professor in policy research at Kyiv School of Economics, who discussed a comparable effort in Ukraine.This is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Confronting COVID-19: Global Implications and Futures webinar series.
The COVID-19 pandemic, and political and economic responses to it, have raised urgent questions not only about access to education, but also about education’s deeper purposes, challenges and possibilities. Drawing from distinct and complementary scholarly perspectives, Northwestern professor of political science Sally Nuamah and Northwestern professor of learning sciences Shirin Vossoughi provide a critical analysis of educational discourse, policy and practice in these times, and address the crucial need to imagine and enact educationally just futures.This is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Confronting COVID-19: Global Implications and Futures webinar series.
The power of social media is in its speed and sprawl – but what do we know about social media use amidst a global pandemic? What happens when misinformation – from the 5G conspiracy to the Plandemic documentary – goes viral? How is misinformation about COVID-19 distinct from other forms of misinformation and how can we combat it?Northwestern University Professor of Communication Studies Dr. Pablo J. Boczkowski and Dr. Claire Wardle, co-founder and director of the non-profit First Draft, addressed these questions and more, drawing on misinformation trends and 'infodemic' cases from around the world in a conversation on May 26, 2020 as part of  Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Confronting COVID-19: Global Implications and Futures webinar series.
As COVID-19 has spread around the world, so have anxiety, fear—and scapegoating. But who’s being blamed, why, and with what consequences? Anti-Asian hate incidents have risen sharply, from the U.S. and UK to Brazil, Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Africa. Refugees and migrants have borne the brunt of hate in Europe. In India and Sri Lanka, Muslims are accused of purposefully disseminating the virus as a form of jihad, while racist memes and anti-Jewish sentiments proliferate online. How are we to understand the pernicious spread of bigotry and violence? What are the repercussions not only for targeted communities, but for national cohesion and global connection? A panel of experts addressed these cases and questions in a conversation about the virulent spread of hate amid COVID-19.The panel included Lauren Stokes (Assistant Professor of History, Northwestern); Ray San Diego (Visiting Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies, Northwestern), Melissa Borja (Assistant Professor of American Culture, University of Michigan); Britta Ohm (Associate Researcher, Institute of Social Anthropology, Bern University), and Ariel Schwartz (Associate Director of Research, Northwestern Buffett).This is part of the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs’ Confronting COVID-19: Global Implications and Futures webinar series.
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