Thursday, November 10, 2011

And so we begin...

After months of planning and preparation, the real work is about to being! Each participant in IEDP is assigned to two groups: a policy group and a logistics committee.

Policy groups
This year, we have five groups that will study broadly-defined topics related to development in Colombia. Each group must identify a specific issue within its topic area, research that issue thoroughly and present its findings to the class in a 90-minute presentation. The groups will then conduct field interviews with relevant stakeholders during our week-long trip to Colombia in February. All of the groups' findings and analyses will be compiled in comprehensive reports and published on this blog in April.

The topics for Colombia 2012 are:
  • human rights (with a focus on displaced persons)
  • environmental policy
  • security and the impact of conflict on development (with a focus on drug control)
  • trade (or an optional focus on industry development)
  • social policy (a choice of either health or education policy)
We will report back in a few weeks to update you on each group's specific research focus. But for now, get an idea of issues and questions that have been studied in past IEDPs by checking out the syllabus from IEDP Grenada.

Coordinating and planning our trip to Colombia will require the input of every IEDP participant. There are four committees to split the work load:
  • Finance Committee: writes grant proposals to fund the trip, organizes fundraising events, establishes contacts across campus to cultivate financial opportunities and resources, writes thank yous to grantors, maintains organized records, debriefs donors after the trip. Chair: Stephanie Swierczek
  • Logistics Committee: arranges air travel and lodging, coordinates in-country travel, monitors safety and security concerns and administrative requirements, acquires local cell phones, writes a cultural booklet for participants, manages passport and visa logistics, as well as health insurance and the emergency contacts list. Chair: Jessica Presley
  • Contacts Committee: aggregates lists of potential contacts for in-person interviews from the various policy groups, contacts parties for availability, assembles trip agenda, identifies translation needs, ensures that final policy reports are shared with in-country stakeholders. Chair: Harlyn Pacheco
  • Documentation Committee: writes syllabus and finalizes curriculum based on policy groups' recommendations, compile background materials and readings, coordinate publicity, document the course and trip with pictures and/or video, organize the final presentation after the trip. Chair: Lindsay Minnema

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The gang's all here!

The board is excited to welcome 21 talented U-M graduate students to the IEDP team! It's a diverse group -- representing not only the Ford School, but also the School of Natural Resources, Urban Planning, Public Health, and the law and business schools. We are looking forward to making new friends, learning from each other and sharing in this great experience.

IEDP is more than the class and trip, however. Since its inception, the program has been intended as an opportunity for the whole school community to learn about and engage with a developing country's social and economic policies. To that end, we are planning some great speakers and events during winter semester that will be open to the public. Check our Facebook page regularly for announcements!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Call for applications!

The application for IEDP Colombia 2012 is now available! Download it here.
 **Applicants must submit four copies to Student Services in Weill 2245 by noon on October 14, 2011. **

Twenty-five U-M graduate students will be selected to go on the trip -- 20 of which will be from the Ford School. Applications will be anonymously reviewed by a committee of faculty and students. Reviewers will choose participants based on their demonstrated interest in Colombia and/or social and economic development. Reviewers will also consider what candidates might contribute to the class, as well as what they hope to learn from the experience

Among Ford applicants, there will be no quota regarding the number of first- and second-year students selected. Class year will be taken into account only when applicants possess comparable qualifications. In those cases, preference will be given to second-year students.

Preference is also given to those who have never been on a Ford School international trip (i.e. past IEDP or China trip). Those who apply to both programs this year are asked to indicate their preference, which will be taken into account if both the IEDP and China trip committees have a similar level of interest in a candidate.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Introducing IEDP Colombia

This year's IEDP will focus on Colombia, an emerging economy whose GDP is projected to grow by 2-5 percent over the next five years (IMF). Despite this progress, Colombia still struggles with serious social and political problems: people displaced by ongoing violent conflict, poverty and a thriving drug trade, to name a few.

Students will examine and analyze Colombian domestic and foreign policy through the lens of economic development. Issues to be addressed (chosen by the students in the class) will likely include some of the following: public sector reform, private industry development, drug control, labor rights, education, environmental protection and health. The class will be divided into teams, with each team studying and producing a comprehensive final report on one of the topics.

The IEDP trip to Colombia will take place between February 25 and March 4, 2012. During that week, students will meet with various stakeholders related to their topics and collect information to include in their reports. The trip's itinerary will be planned by the class, with teams taking on such responsibilities as: fundraising, arranging travel logistics and scheduling meetings.