Energy’s Changing Role in Relief Aid

Conflict and disasters have increased human displacement to record levels worldwide, requiring efficient distribution of humanitarian aid. Focusing on renewables for provision of energy services could promote sustainability, explains a team of writers representing the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines, the World Bank, Chatham House and Energy Peace Partners. “At present, operations overwhelmingly rely on diesel for transport and electricity generation, and wood and charcoal for household cooking, which displaced people often buy or collect,” the writers note. “Such practices outlast initial emergencies as refugee settlements grow into small cities and peacekeeping operations drag on for years with impacts on health, environment and safety.” Energy is essential for large populations of refugees and displaced people, and host countries seek to conserve their own limited resources. The writers, reviewing some innovative programs and funding mechanisms, conclude that the aid and peacekeeping sectors could lead on delivery of new energies. – YaleGlobal

 

Christopher Andrew on the lost history of global intelligence

Christopher Andrew (middle) signing copies of his new book "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" on which his lectures were based.

Christopher Andrew, Emeritus Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Cambridge and former Official Historian of British Security Service MI5, delivered this year’s Stimson Lectures on World Affairs, a series of three lectures that took place over the course of the first week in November at the MacMillan Center. Known for his scholarship on the history of intelligence, he addressed the topic “The Lost History of Global Intelligence—and Why It Matters.”

Throughout the three lectures, Andrew stressed a few overarching themes. He noted that although the strategic importance of signal intelligence (SIGINT) is commonly accepted, there is a surprisingly poor understanding of its history. “No WWII or post-WWII profession was as ignorant of its own history as the intelligence community,” he said, attributing this ignorance to the inherently clandestine nature of espionage operations. Because of its ignorance of its history, the intelligence community is unable to learn from past mistakes. Andrew said, “intelligence history is not linear… it sometimes goes backwards.” He also expressed frustration at how modern SIGINT is commonly seen as more advanced than SIGINT in history, using as an example the code-breaking superiority under Queen Elizabeth I compared to that of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

https://macmillan.yale.edu/news/christopher-andrew-lost-history-global-intelligence

The Higher Education Learning Crisis

University of Denver graduates celebrate by throwing caps in air; journalism class at University of Missouri with more than 150 students

Reading, thinking and writing allow individuals to magnify their influence, noted 20th century writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley. Society expects education to open opportunities for students to improve themselves and their societies, and yet there is a crisis in American undergraduate higher education as students simply do not learn, explain Richard H. Hersh and Richard Keeling. Hersh, formerly president of Trinity College and Hobart and Smith Colleges, now teaches at Yale, and Keeling is president of Keeling & Associates, a higher education consulting practice. “Other countries have increasingly emulated American universities because of prestigious worldwide rankings, but such emulation may be hollow as rankings are based on scholarship and research prowess, measured by numbers of publications and scholarly citations, not undergraduate learning,” they write. “Too many graduates are not prepared to think critically and creatively, speak and write cogently, solve problems, comprehend complex issues, accept accountability, take the perspective of others, or meet employer expectations.” Hersh and Keeling urge faculty and students alike to embrace the ongoing cumulative and collective nature of higher learning while constantly aiming for higher standards of competence. – YaleGlobal

 

Committee advises converting Jackson Institute into school of global affairs

55 Hillhouse Ave., home of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale.

Yale’s Jackson Institute should become a school of global affairs featuring a robust, faculty-driven research program dedicated to solving real-world problems and shaping a better future for humanity, according to a vision described in an advisory committee report released Nov. 14.

Founded in 2010 largely as a teaching enterprise through a generous gift from John Jackson ’67 and Susan Jackson, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs currently houses a thriving educational program that serves hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students each year. In 2017, Provost Benjamin Polak convened an advisory committee of eight senior faculty members to consider the institute’s future and assess whether Jackson should be transformed into an independent professional school.

https://news.yale.edu/2018/11/14/committee-advises-converting-jackson-institute-school-global-affairs?utm_source=YNemail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ynalumni-11-15-18

 

Lessons for the Crisis Fighters

One challenge in studying a once-in-a-century financial crisis is that it only happens once in a century; lessons aren’t easily passed down to the people who will face the next one. Yale SOM’s Andrew Metrick and a team at the Yale Program on Financial Stability are studying the global financial crisis of 2007-09, working to create the knowledge and tools to prepare the next generation of policymakers who find themselves in the eye of a monetary maelstrom.

https://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/lessons-for-the-crisis-fighters?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=YLessons%20for%20the%20Crisis%20Fighters&utm_campaign=insights-newsletter-nov-long2018

New Players in a Dollarized World

Dethroning the dollar: European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker with America First Donald Trump; during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Indonesians fight to obtain dollars

The International Monetary Fund points out that Europe, Latin America and Asia had started a gradual shift from reliance on the US dollar in 2000 that was disrupted by economic crises. The process of seeking alternatives begins anew as advanced and emerging economies alike are disturbed by America First policies that include tariffs and sanctions. The US dollar accounts for more than 60 percent of foreign-exchange reserves and global trade transactions. “Transition from the US dollar-based environment is possible, but will be slow and the new reality will involve a competition from several pretenders for the status of the dominant currency,” explains Michal Romanowski. The rest of the world has long regarded the United States as a safe haven, and ongoing demand allows the country to refinance its debt at low costs. But US dollar dominance complicates monetary policies for Europe, Iran, Turkey and others. Russia is reducing investment in US debt obligations. China, while moving cautiously in this area, takes steps to position the yuan as an international currency. Romanowski concludes that the world should prepare for a more multipolar currency landscape. – YaleGlobal

Retirement: No More Golden Years

Seniors in a California home exercise while seated; Japanese elderly work out

The world has inequalities of many kinds, and retirement is no exception. Government-sponsored pensionable retirement programs are popular worldwide, regarded as essential in the wealthiest economies. “Retirement programs are similar in purpose, yet differ considerably in scope, coverage, contributions, requirements, taxes, eligibility and benefits,” explains demography expert Joseph Chamie. “Official retirement ages, for example, range from 50 to 70 years, with most concentrated between 60 and 65 years.” Longer lifespans increase the years people spend in retirement, increasing costs for governments, employers and individual retirees. According to Chamie, solutions include hiking retirement ages and reducing retirement benefits, increasing taxes, shifting from defined-benefit to defined-contribution plans, and promoting incentives among workers to save more and work longer. Protests quickly form when governments move to cut retirement benefits, and many workers worry that a comfortable retirement is not in their future. – YaleGlobal