As 2020 draws to a close, the world’s third fastest-growing economy grapples with both war and a humanitarian crisis.

by: Babatunde P. Odubekun & Geoffrey von Zastrow

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Tigray refugee children fight over medical masks and sanitizer given out by Non Governmental Organization Maarif in front of a clinic run by Mercy Corps in Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Promise of Peace

In 2019 the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded its peace prize to Abiy Ahmed Ali, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, explaining that Abiy had “initiated important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future . . . granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalizing outlawed opposition groups, dismissing military and civilian leaders who were suspected of corruption, and significantly increasing the influence of women in Ethiopian…


Bunker Hill: The Hidden Toll on the Labor Force That We’re Not Talking About.

by: Geoffrey von Zastrow & Babatunde P. Odubekun

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

When U.S. unemployment broke record highs in May of this year, a direct result of the Covid-19 induced lockdowns, Congress — in a rare show of bipartisanship — swiftly stepped in to provide pandemic relief to the nation, stemming what would have been a deep(er) long(er) crisis. As the summer gave way to fall, the labor market bounced back with new jobs and what seemed to be a recovery and stabilization — at least that’s what it appeared…


A quick reminder as we are living through one of the most divisive and polarized times in recent American history, it’s important to remember that democracy isn’t about winning or losing elections; on the contrary, the goal of democracy is to provide meaningful processes for citizens to make informed decisions about the direction of the country, to better the living conditions, and to preserve and protect the natural environment that we share with our fellow citizens. …


Is there a case to be made for regulation as fuel for innovation?

By: Babatunde P. Odubekun & Geoffrey von Zastrow

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Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Regulation is good. There, we said it. Targeted and effective restrictions on commercial activity keep the market’s “animal spirits” in check. This applies to both monopolies and to the average Main Street storefront, alike. If you’ve ever walked through a small town and marveled at the signage, historic street lights, and cobblestone roads you are likely in a vicinity that has gone to great lengths to care for itself and preserve its character. Unseen, but powerful nonetheless, are the…


Remember that coup in Mali? You’d be forgiven for forgetting, given that it hasn’t been in headlines at all of late. For anyone who has lived in a country where elections might literally be life or death events, the Mali coup and its aftermath are not too hard to imagine. Nevertheless, Mali has averaged one coup per decade over the last 30 years. That’s cause for concern, especially since it isn’t clear that the military transitional government will actually give up the reins of power as they claim they will.

by: Babatunde P. Odubekun & Geoffrey von Zastrow

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Members of MINUSMA’s Chadian contingent patrol in Kidal, Mali on December 17, 2016. — Sylvain Liechti/MINUSMA/Reuters

Mali is…


The long road to reopening universities in the United states has been fraught with obstacles, ranging from wild maskless parties, to litigation over full-time tuition for hybrid instruction, to ICE imposing visa restrictions on international students. As the fall semester rolls in amidst chaos and uncertainty, here’s what we know, what we don’t know, and open questions that campus leadership still needs to figure out — probably on an ad hoc basis, as is the motif of 2020.

by: Babatunde P. Odubekun & Geoffrey von Zastrow

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Photo by Geoffrey von Zastrow — Columbia University Campus

Parochial Solitude 🙈

Ostensibly as a matter of virus containment and public health, but with the convenient…


At a time where information is more widely available than ever before, sifting through the noise to find out what is true has become a difficult — even partisan — task. There’s a reason for that.

by: Babatunde P. Odubekun & Geoffrey von Zastrow

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Photo by Scheier .hr on Unsplash

Who Do You Trust?

Of all the institutions affected by a lack of public faith, the news media features most prominently. Not only has the nature of news delivery shifted over the past century, but also the sheer volume of information and people’s capacity to consume it has reached an unprecedented level in human history. In the context of a pandemic that has already killed more than 700,000…


by: Geoffrey von Zastrow & Babatunde P. Odubekun

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Photo by Mariana Proença on Unsplash

Even in a low growth economy, the renewable energy sector continues to expand. The question for presidential politics is not whether or not the cleantech sector continues to grow but, rather, how quickly it accelerates.

The Future of Energy: It’s Already Here

As the United States braces for yet another record hot summer, the Democratic and Republican candidates for president have released differing visions for the future of the American economy through the common lens of domestic energy production and the environment.

Politics aside, the future of the American energy market has already shifted, and it is decidedly green.


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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

When talking about climate change it is often common to hear the term “carbon budget,” but what exactly is a carbon budget? In order to confront the mounting climate crisis, it is critical to understand what the carbon budget is. Unlike the name implies, a carbon budget is not as simple or straightforward as planning out a financial budget.


by: Babatunde P. Odubekun & Geoffrey von Zastrow

As the United States reels from the persistent and growing threat of COVID-19 and the ensuing economic fallout, a third crisis is afoot: the freefall of graduate degree programs.

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Columbia University Campus, Photo by Geoffrey von Zastrow

The announcement that Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management is effectively shuttering its full-time MBA program comes amidst a reckoning in higher education writ large. The writing has been on the walls for years, and is now accelerated by the pandemic, global lockdowns, and economic fallout that have combined with catastrophic effect in 2020.

Coupled with the Trump Administration’s recent edict regarding skilled…

Geoffrey von Zastrow

Focused on climate change & sustainable international development. Twitter @von_Zastrow, IG @von_zastrow. Alumni @Columbia & the @earthinstitute

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