Thursday, 14 November 2013

'Rivista' magazine: A glimpse into the complexities of SAIS

SAIS is a community of learners binding students, faculty, staff and alumni around the world who span decades but share common values and experiences.

Some of the complexities are captured in SAIS Europe's magazine, Rivista.

Rivista magazine
The latest edition offers a glimpse into what alumni and current students find alluring about studying at SAIS. Beyond the scholarly expertise of the faculty you will find the unique experience of living in Bologna for a year, the diversity of the students, the evolving curriculum and the commitment of its graduates to contribute to bettering the world.

Director Kenneth Keller, who will be retiring at the end of this academic year, sketches some of the changes he has overseen during his eight years in Bologna: the creation of the Bologna Institute for Policy Research, the movement of the administration of the European Studies concentration to Bologna followed by its merger with Eurasian Studies, the imminent establishment of a chair in Middle East Studies in Bologna and the recognition of the Bologna Center as SAIS Europe.

You will find articles by SAIS Europe professors on corruption in developing countries, the challenge of governing Italy and security and governance concerns in Mali and the Sahel. There are pieces on the city of Bologna, including a gelato museum, on the diversity of the student body and on a recent careers trip to NATO.

The death of SAIS graduate Elif Nazmiye Yavuz (BC03/DC04) in the attack by militants on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in September is a reminder of the dangers encountered by many SAIS students, faculty and alumni as they tackle the world's challenges, as well as the sacrifices that many have to make.

Nelson Graves

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Life after SAIS: One man's path to the IMF

What do SAIS students do after they finish their studies?

Many different things. Take Justin Tyson as an example.

Tyson graduated from SAIS in 1999. He then worked for the Inter-American Development Bank and later as an economist at the UK Treasury. Currently he is a senior economist with the European Department of the International Monetary Fund in Washington. Earlier this week he was back at the Bologna Center to deliver a lecture as part of SAIS Europe's seminar series and to answer some of our questions.

Q: How did you hear about SAIS and when did you attend?
Tyson: I originally heard about SAIS from a professor at Edinburgh University who, knowing of my interest in international affairs, recommended it to me. Still, after graduating from Edinburgh, I wanted to get some work experience and spent most of the next year working in Sudan with an NGO before enrolling in SAIS in 1997.
Justin Tyson (BC98/DC99)
(photo thanks to the Bologna Intitute for Policy Research)

Q: Did you go to Bologna and then Washington? If so, do you think that was a good choice for you?
Tyson: Yes, I did the first year at Bologna. I really enjoyed the sense of close community, intellectual diversity and fun that I found in SAIS Europe.

Q: When you applied to SAIS, did you know what you wanted to do after graduation? If not, when did you settle on a path?
Tyson: Well, I thought I did. When I enrolled in SAIS my idea was that after graduation I would return to work in the NGO world. However, SAIS provided me an introduction to economics, which I ended up enjoying more than I had expected to. After SAIS, I gravitated towards a career that would allow me to continue to explore this field.

Q: You've worked at the UK Treasury, the Inter-American Development Bank and the IMF. Did SAIS prepare you well for these jobs?
Tyson: I found the combination of theoretical preparation and public policy pragmatism that I got from SAIS particularly useful in the jobs I have done.

Q: This week you're speaking at SAIS Europe on "Dealing with High Debt in an Era of Low Growth". Could you summarize your work?
Tyson: Our paper takes a closer look at the historical record and key trade-offs in reducing high public debt levels in advanced economies. The bottom line: It is possible to reduce debt when growth is low, but the burden will fall mostly on the public budget, which is not easy in the best of times. Initially, this might weaken growth even further, but ultimately perseverance should pay off.

Q: Are any of your SAIS classmates also working at the IMF? Other SAISers?
Tyson: Yes – there are a few of us at the IMF.