Tuesday, June 30, 2015

HHH Prof. Kudrle--TPP and Minnesota


How Minnesota would benefit—and how it would suffer—if Congress approves the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  

Professor Robert Kudrle gives his international trade expert opinion on the new Trans-Pacific Partnership, citing numerous reason of how it would greatly benefit the state of Minnesota in MinnPost 


Crossposted from Humphrey Herald

Humphrey Fellow Vera-Cruz blogs from UNICEF Innovation Unit project



By Deborah Cristina Vera-Cruz, @DeborahVeraCruz

I have just finished an amazing 6-week volunteer program with the Innovation Unit at NYHQ. It has been an enriching and rewarding experience, to work with the team and be able to contribute to the great work that is being done – bringing innovative solutions to the ones most in need.
The purpose of the volunteer assignment was to support some ongoing Big Data research activities and propose future developments to maximize the potential of RapidPro, specifically, U-Report using different data sources. U-Report is an SMS based platform for youth engagement, born in UNICEF’s Innovation Labs, that is gaining momentum and acceptance worldwide.

Nevertheless, in order to explore and exploit its full potential, it is necessary to count on a sandbox infrastructure to easily provide access to U-Report data and its combination with other complementary data, such as classic statistics, maps and new digital trails like Twitter.
Big Data analytics has opened the door to transform a vast quantity of digital trails into information and knowledge about the underlying communities generating those trails. The importance of this type of analysis for humanitarian response is being acknowledged by the efforts of the UN system on the so-called Data Revolution.

First steps – RapidPro class diagram
As part of the proposed work, understanding the database model was essential. Therefore, it was necessary to comprehend how the RapidPro system is built and how it is operated in order to make suggestions regarding data storage and management.

Based on the Python packages with class definitions, available through the github website of the project, the database model was translated to a diagram where all the entities, attributes and relationships were mapped.


This diagram is based on the Python packages with class definitions, available through the github website of the project, that was accessed on May 15th (https://github.com/rapidpro/rapidpro). Photo: Cristina Vera-Cruz
The motivation for studying RapidPro’s database model was to know how the user (Contact) data for U-Report is stored in the system. One of the main findings was that, due to RapidPro’s flexibility, which enables each application to create the fields that are necessary for the specific context, each country potentially has different fields to represent the same data.

 U-Report User Information
 After me and Manuel were able to study the database model, namely, the entities and relationships that represent the U-Reporter in the system, we realized that the data regarding the variables that represent the user were stored in a key-value format, only accessible through the API provided by RapidPro, for each of the different countries.

Therefore, we developed a simple program in Python (based on the RapidPro Python client document) to open a txt file, read information about the name of the countries and the respective API token, to connect to each database and obtain the user identification fields.



Cristina - Photo 2
A simple program in Python (based on the RapidPro Python client document) was developed to read information about the name of the countries and the respective API token, to connect to each database and obtain the user identification fields. Photo: Cristina Vera-Cruz
With the program and based on the data that was available from a sample of 6 countries, namely Mali, Burundi, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Central African Republic, we were able to identify two categories of information: Identification (age, gender, occupation) and Location (different administrative levels) and created a set of recommendations of best practices for variable naming.

 For analysis purposes of U-Report, it is necessary to aggregate data regarding U-Reporters from all the countries where the program is running. Unless the identification variables (which collect the data) are created with the same name, it is extremely complicated to obtain the aggregated data in a quick and efficient way, especially considering the rapidly growing number of countries and the different platforms that U-Report uses.

Opportunities for next steps – Making use of Big Data sources
U-Report has been launched in 15 countries and growing. Most of these countries use the SMS version, however some are starting to use Twitter as well, taking advantage of the growing Internet connected community and the benefits that come with it, such as less cost.

With Twitter data there is a huge opportunity to identify, store and extract useful information from the social network of U-Reporters as well as the dynamics of geo-located tweets.


Cristina - Photo 3
Print screen of U-Report Indonesia, which we used to obtain data.
With tweets coming from different locations at different times of the day, it is possible to dynamically map a relationship between a user and a location and identify it as being from home, school, work, etc. Mapping the movement of a user can also show us trends when the aggregated data is analyzed.
Through the social network of U-Reporters, by analyzing their group of friends and what kind of subjects that they tweet, we can identify the ones who can potentially be of most influence when making a campaign, and we can also identify potential new U-Reporters based on common friends between existing users.

Because this is potentially a large amount of data (all relationships among U-Reporters and other Twitter users) we suggest using a non-relational database such as the open source elastic search that not only allow retrieving data from different sources such as Twitter streams, but also to search, analyze, and visualize it in real time.

It is clear that the possibilities are endless, if the necessary data is stored and analyzed in the most appropriate way. It may take some time and effort, but the outcome will make it worthy…so, lets get to work!!


Cristina - Photo 4
First week at UNICEF. Photo: Cristina Vera-Cruz
I could not have asked for a better way to complete this Fulbright Fellowship Program. After months of academic activities, being able to put in practice what I learned and finally combining my expertise in IT with my passion – doing good, bringing change in innovative ways and taking steps towards making this world a better place.

NBR seeks trade, economic, energy affairs interns (Wash DC)

This material is cross-posted from the NBR website and appears to be an interesting opportunity for the Humphrey community.   This is meant for information sharing purposes only. 
 

Trade, Economic, and Energy Affairs (TEEA) Internship 
Washington, D.C.


The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) is seeking paid, full- and part-time interns for 3-6 months to join the Trade, Economic, and Energy Affairs (TEEA) group starting in the fall or summer of 2015. The minimum is three months, but priority is given to those who are available longer. The intern will focus on a variety of TEEA programs, including but not limited to the Energy Security Program and the Pacific Energy Summit. This internship is supervised by the TEEA director and project manager.
Project & Work Descriptions
NBR’s Energy Security Program convenes senior policy and industry leaders and Asia energy specialists to engage in high-level discussions of Asia’s energy policies and their implications for geopolitics. Experts share insights and recommendations through a number of channels, including roundtables, a spring workshop, NBR’s annual Energy Security Report, and a public fall launch.
TEEA interns have the opportunity to work closely with project managers and senior experts on all aspects of the Program, including: preparing program and event materials; maintaining registration lists; assisting with travel, outreach, and event logistics; and supporting program research needs.
Launched in 2009, NBR’s annual Pacific Energy Summit is an invitation-only event that convenes leaders from government, business, and research to explore innovative solutions to the dual challenges of rising energy demand and climate change. Every year, the Summit engages more than 200 senior policy and industry leaders, representing over 25 countries. By bridging the commercial, public, and nonprofit sectors, the Summit informs policy and inspires collaboration to help support sustainable economic development. Key deliverables for the series include the annual Summit, working papers, policy interviews, final report, and Capitol Hill report launch.
For the Summit series, TEEA interns provide administrative, outreach, and logistical support for the annual Summit; the Capitol Hill discussion and launch of the Summit findings; and roundtables and briefings. Core responsibilities include: conducting background research as necessary, preparing event materials, maintaining registration lists, tracking and following-up on invitations, and assisting with travel and event logistics.
Additionally, interns will support TEEA on other group-related activities, and work closely with project managers and senior experts in developing and managing roundtables, logistics, and outreach, particularly on energy and economic engagement.
Responsibilities
  • Event Planning: Providing administrative support to conferences, workshops, presentations, and briefings (drafting agendas and invitations; assisting with travel, accommodation, and venue arrangements; note-taking, etc.).
  • Project Assistance: Drafting, reviewing, fact-checking, proofreading, and formatting documents related to TEEA programs, including but not limited to briefing materials, agendas, website content, key thematic issues, and related publications and/or other materials as appropriate.
  • Research Support: Providing substantive research assistance for project teams and scholars, including gathering articles on current events and background on key individuals, attending and summarizing local events on trade and energy, conducting an interview with an expert in the TEEA field.
  • Publications Support: Reviewing, fact-checking, proofreading, and formatting publications; assisting with publications distribution (including mailings), etc.
  • Database Administration: Maintaining and updating project databases; data entry and research for institutional and project databases.
  • Phone Support: Answering incoming calls to the organization.
  • Other: Participating in and supporting other NBR activities as needed.
Qualifications
  • Upperclassman BA student, current MA student, or recent graduate preferred, working towards or holding a relevant degree.
  • The ideal applicant should be a motivated self-starter who can work independently or as part of a team; pay acute attention to detail; be organized; work well under pressure; and have excellent written, oral, and research skills.
  • S/he must have substantive expertise on specific countries and issues (substantive knowledge and/or language skills) and must be able to understand each project’s scope/relevance in order to work effectively with scholars and other stakeholders.
Application Process
The deadline for applications is Friday, July 22, 2015, however, qualified applications received first will be given priority. Incomplete applications will not be considered. To apply, submit the following to Kailani Cordell:
  • Resume
  • Cover letter that details your qualifications and suitability for the position
  • Application form available on our website available in PDF or MS Word
  • Brief writing sample on a topic related to your field of study
  • Contact information of three references (name, title, affiliation, phone number, and e-mail)
Please send applications by email to: Ms. Kailani Cordell, Director of Human Resources, employment@nbr.org, (206) 632-7370.

Atlas Corps Fellowship

This material is cross-posted from the Peace and Collaborative Development Network, http://internationalpeaceandconflict.org and appears to be an interesting opportunity for the Humphrey community.   This is meant for information sharing purposes only. 
Seeking Global NGO Leaders for Paid Fellowship in U.S.
Priority Deadline: July 15, but applications accepted year-round

Atlas Corps seeks nonprofit leaders from around the world to apply for a paid 6-18 month, overseas fellowship program.
 
Description:
Atlas Corps seeks nonprofit/NGO professionals from around the world to apply for Fellowships in the U.S. Atlas Corps engages leaders committed to the nonprofit sector in 6-18 month, professional fellowships at organizations to learn best practices, build organizational capacity, and return home to create a network of global leaders. Fellows serve at Host Organizations working on issues that complement their expertise. This prestigious fellowship includes a living stipend to cover basic expenses (food, local transportation, and shared housing) and health insurance.

Qualifications:
All applicants must be aged 22-35 and must have 2-10 years of relevant experience in the nonprofit/social sector, a bachelor's degree or equivalent, English proficiency, commitment to return to your home country after the fellowship.

How to Apply:
Applications are accepted year-round, but to be considered for our U.S. Fellowship beginning in January 2016, we encourage applications by July 15. For more details about eligibility requirements and the application process, please visit bit.ly/AtlasCorps20.

Schwarzman Scholars (one year master degree at Tsinghua Univ, China)

This material is cross-posted from the Peace and Collaborative Development Network, http://internationalpeaceandconflict.org and appears to be an interesting opportunity for the Humphrey community.   This is meant for information sharing purposes only. 
Schwarzman Scholars is a highly selective, one-year master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing that is designed to prepare the next generation of global leaders for the challenges of the future.
Designed to prepare the next generation of global leaders, Schwarzman Scholars is the first scholarship created to respond to the geopolitical landscape of the 21st Century. Whether in politics, business or science, the success of future leaders around the world will depend upon an understanding of China’s role in global trends.
Enrolling the inaugural class in 2016, the program will give the world’s best and brightest students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and professional networks through a one-year Master’s Degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing – one of China’s most prestigious universities.
Students will live and study together on the campus of Schwarzman College, a newly-built, state-of-the-art facility, where all classes will be taught in English. Students will pursue degrees in one of three disciplines:
  • Public Policy
  • Economics and Business
  • International Studies
Students will spend a year immersed in an international community of thinkers, innovators and senior leaders in business, politics and society. In an environment of intellectual engagement, professional development and cultural exchange, they will learn from one another and pursue their academic disciplines while building their leadership capacities. This experience will expand students’ understanding of the world and create a growing network of global leaders for the future.
For those ready to make their mark on the world, Schwarzman Scholars represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Applications open in April 2015.
Each new cohort of Schwarzman Scholars will join a global network of the world's most talented young leaders, helping to build stronger links between China and a rapidly changing world. 
The Schwarzman Scholars experience is anchored in a rigorous and innovative master's degree program at Tsinghua University, one of the country's leading universities. Drawing on the best traditions of Tsinghua and top academic institutions around the world, the curriculum bridges the academic and professional worlds to educate students about leadership and about China's expanding role in the world.
The program also provides Scholars with unparalleled learning opportunities with leaders from China and the world through high-level interactions at lectures, an internship program, a mentors network, and intensive deep-dive travel seminars.

Each year, up to 200 exceptional men and women will be accepted to the program.

45%US

20%China

35%Rest of world

Eligibility Requirements

  • Undergraduate degree or first degree from an accredited college or university or its equivalent. Applicants who are currently enrolled in undergraduate degree programs must be on track to successfully complete all degree requirements before orientation begins in July 2016. There are no requirements for a specific field of undergraduate study; all fields are welcome, but it will be important for applicants, regardless of undergraduate major, to articulate how participating in Schwarzman Scholars will help develop their leadership potential within their field.
  • English language proficiency. Applicants must demonstrate strong English Language skills, as all teaching will be conducted in English. If the applicant's native language is not English, official English proficiency test scores must be submitted with the application. Acceptable test options are:Age. Applicants must be at least 18 but not yet 29 years of age as of June 30, 2016.
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL PBT)
    • Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT)
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
    • Pearson’s (PTE Academic)
    This requirement is waived for applicants who graduated from an undergraduate institution where the language of instruction was English at an institution located in a country where English was a national language.

Key dates

  • April 2015: Application opens
  • October 1, 2015: Application deadline
  • October 2015: Reading and selection of semi-finalists
  • Mid-November 2015: Interviews for semi-finalists
  • Late November 2015: Finalists notified
  • July 5, 2016: Orientation at Tsinghua University begins

Scholarship Funding

The extraordinary students selected to become Schwarzman Scholars will receive a comprehensive scholarship. It will include:
  • Tuition
  • Fees
  • Room and board
  • Travel to and from Beijing at the beginning and end of the academic year
  • An in-country study tour
  • Required course books and supplies
  • Lenovo laptop and smartphone
  • Health insurance
  • A modest personal stipend
With a $350 million endowment, Schwarzman Scholars will be the single largest philanthropic effort ever undertaken in China by largely international donors.
for more info see http://schwarzmanscholars.org

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