Evaluating Social Programs At Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) : Shreya Mukhopadhyay

August 10, 2018

I organized my summer with a few interesting activities in line with my coursework at Nalanda University.

I applied for a short course/workshop called ‘Evaluating Social Programs’, organized by Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). I was accepted as one of 52 global participants, most of whom were established professionals working for governments or academia. I attended the course in June, at Sloan School of Economics, MIT. The focus of the course was to highlight the importance of Randomized Controlled Tests, in contrast with other evaluation techniques, in designing and evaluating social programs from a policymaker’s point of view. The content of the course was advanced; it included multiple real-world case studies and a final virtual scenario-based presentation.

I was selected as a delegate from India, to attend the 22nd session of Youth Assembly that happened from August 10-13 in New York City. Twice in a year, the Youth Assembly (a collaboration between United Nations Department of Public Information and Friendship Ambassadors’ Foundation) brings together a delegation of global youth from over 100 countries to create and develop solutions that foster UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To me, meeting successful social entrepreneurs and learning about budding social ventures of the youth were the most interesting part of the conference. Three eventful days were filled with discussions on topics like — the role of World Bank and its work on the SDGs, taking action on environmental challenges in a multidimensionalmanner, finding sustainable solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons, designing cities for the future, building gender equality in leadership, development and inclusion of youth for action on the SDGs, skills and employment for modern era, and unlocking blockchain’s potential to advance the SDGs. I also had the opportunity to visit the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York. Swiss minister of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), and the Deputy Permanent Representative to UN, Mr. FavreDominiquwdiscussed their country’s report of 2018, emphasizing their method of work and participation with respect to the UN’s General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council. I was highly influenced by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, special advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the SDGs, and H.E. Ms. Simona-Mirela Miculescu, representative of the UN Secretary-General. The Youth Assembly experience was complete after I visited the United Nations Headquarter, and had a detailed overview of the working procedure of the organization.

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