By Adeney Zo
UCLA Luskin Student Writer
Learning can come in many forms, including class lectures, discussions and research, but the first Global Public Affairs salon aimed to combine these forms into one engaging multi-departmental, student-faculty discussion.
Put together by Urban Planning professors Michael Storper and Steve Commins, this salon created a space for students and faculty from widely varied backgrounds in Public Policy to discuss major global public affairs topics outside of the traditional lecture setting.
The main topic of the night centered around the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s 2014 annual letter, titled “3 Myths That Block Progress for the Poor.” The letter aims to debunk the following three global affairs myths (through research and media examples):
- Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.
- Foreign aid is a big waste.
- Saving lives leads to overpopulation.
Once the debate commenced, students brought up points to defend or deconstruct each myth while faculty expanded on those ideas with information based on their own research and experience. Comments ranged from analysis of developmental markers to benefits of quantitative vs. qualitative data to dealing with corruption and misuse of foreign aid.
Professor Michael Storper led the discussion, emphasizing at the beginning that the goal of the salon was to take information learned in the classroom and apply it to engaging, intellectual debates. Other Luskin faculty members that participated included Steve Commins, Manisha Shah, Robert Schilling, Paavo Monkkonen and Susanna Hecht.