News 2016


University of Mannheim organised the 2nd conference of the Alliance of Lead Universities on Migration (ALUM) on November 2-4.

ALUM brings together the best academic minds on migration who are committed working together and inform and support evidence based-policy action. Twelve universities are members across Europe and it is now extended to the Middle East with the American University of Beirut (AUB) joining ALUM. Watch the video here.


Dr Hans Blix, Sweden's former Minister of Foreign Affairs and UN weapon inspector, and author of a number of books on international law spoke at IGA's PowerBreakfast series on a December 8 on NATO, Russia and the New World Disorder. Comments were provided by LSE's Dr Tarak Barkawi author of Globalisation and War,  and the debate was chaired by Lord Desai The PowerBreakfast is a series that brings together lead academics, policy makers, business leaders and media representatives. 


IGA's Milken Fellows Prof Helen Rey and Dr Dominik Hangartner participated in a policy panels on capital flows and migration, respectively, at the Milken Institute's London Summit on December 6. The Milken Institute is an external partner of IGA. 

Erik Berglof

IGA continues engagement with G20 process

The 2017 German Presidency hosted two major events on the margins of the G20 meetings in Berlin last week. At a conference on ‘Towards a more resilient global economy’, organised by the German Federal Ministry of Finance, IGA Director Professor Erik Berglof gave a presentation on tax policy in a globalised economy. Visiting Professor Mario Blejer participated in two Task Forces of the B20, the Business component of the G20, on infrastructure finance and SMEs.

Beyond Tolerance Event

The Institute of Global Affairs (IGA) and LSE Centre for International Studies held a joint event on Friday November 25th Beyond Tolerance: Citizenship, Diversity & Constructive Conflict lead by some fantastic speakers whom delivered fascinating insights highlighting the role of education, enterprise, entertainment, politics and academia in peace-building and social cohesion.

Speakers included: Hanan Al Hroub,Dr Naif Al-MutawaLord Jitesh GadhiaAllyson Stewart-AllenCaroline WatsonScott WeberProfessor Erik BerglofCatherine HowarthJulia KarmoVikas PotaPeter LacySonia MedinaJon AlexanderAyla GokselNoa Gafni SlaneyVeronica NeedaBelinda Parmar, Kathryn Tomlinson, Funmi IyandaProfessor Christine ChinkinMadeleine ReesNour KhaledFardous BahbouhJonathan Simons, Janice Lopatkin, Nasser YassinMatt Powell, and Professor Lutfey Siddiqi

We were also very pleased to announce the winner of the migration  video competition with online video platform ChainyMonzer Darwish

Judges from Cannes LionsThe Guardian and LSE IGA reviewed a total of 47 submissions from around the world, and prizes were sponsored by the Open Society Foundation

Richard Baldwin PL

Richard Baldwin, Director of the Centre for Economic Policy Research, delivered a talk to a full house on Thursday 24th November drawing on his book ‘The Great Convergence: information technology and the new globalisation’. As Richard Baldwin in The Great Convergence shows, because globalisation is now driven by fast-paced technological change and the fragmentation of production, its impact is more sudden, more selective, more unpredictable, and more uncontrollable: the new globalization presents rich and developing nations alike with unprecedented policy challenges in their efforts to maintain reliable growth and social cohesion. The podcast is available here.

Piroska Nagy Mohacsi

With much talk focusing on the likely outcomes of Trump’s protectionist economic policies, the security of America’s fundamental institutions has gone largely undiscussed. As LSE IGA's Programme Director Piroska Nagy-Mohacsi  argues, however, this is where our greatest attention must go; and warns that in the context of a populist victory this presidential election, Americans must be cautious and vigilant in defending their political institutions. You can read the full blog here.

Torsten COP22

At the UNFCCC COP22 in Marrakesh, IGA Visiting Fellow Torsten Thiele spoke up for integrating ocean action into the climate finance agenda, including deep sea science and blue finance. A summary of these ocean climate efforts can be found here.

Middle income trap

As part of the INET Transformation Commission chaired by Nobel Laureates Michael Spence and Joseph Stiglitz, IGA hosted the 2nd Workshop on “Avoiding the Middle Income Trap” on November 16-17. This policy research initiative examines the massive dual challenge of emerging economies to transform themselves into advanced economies and at the same time adjusting to technological change and the increasingly binding environmental and social constraints. The project brings together some of the world’s leading academics and policymakers from a broad range of emerging economies with international financial institutions such as Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Inter-American Development Bank, as well at the International Monetary Fund. Workshop participants brainstormed over a number of background papers (see Professor Aghion during presentation) and case studies on individual countries that have recently transitioned from middle to high income status. A final report is expected in about 18 months.

CEPR logo

The IGA hosted a joint lecture with CEPR on November 17th celebrating the launch of the eBook, Refugees and Economic Migrants: facts, policies and challenges A panel of experts including Christian Dustmann, Professor of Economics at University College London and Director of CReAM; Giovanni Facchini, Professor of Economics at the University of Nottingham; Francesco Fasani, Lecturer at the School of Economics and Finance, Queen Mary - University of London and Philippe Legrain, Senior Visiting Fellow at the European Institute at LSE and founder of the think-tank Open Political Economy Network (OPEN). Panellists focused on some of the key yet less researched aspects of migration policy: the politically sensitive social-cultural dimension of public perception on migration and the role of the media. The podcast is available here

PowerBreakfast CG

IGA PowerBreakfast series held a debate onThe Fall of Technocracy on November 8, inspired by Sebastian Mallaby's new bibliography of former US Federal Reserve Governor Alan Greenspan The Man Who Knew. After author's introduction and LSE Professor Charles Goodhart's remarks, the discussion focussed on how the loss of trust in experts after the 2008/9 global financial crisis has paved the way to what we today observe a surge in populism and "post-truth" and what to do about it. How much political mingling and power an independent central bank should have?  Can tools from the business executive world be used to manage the incentives of central bankers, for example through strict term limits? What role the social media has played to start raising taboos about central banks' expert thus unchallengeable policies? How can the trust in experts regained? The PowerBreakfast is a series brings together lead academics, policy makers, business leaders and media representatives. 

Guillermo Felices

Global implications of Trump’s fiscal stimulus

LSE IGA Visiting Fellow Guillermo Felices  reflects on the broader implications of this protectionist stance, and argues that an international backlash could undermine the sustainability of this economic position. He also notes that though the anti-establishment sentiment seen in the UK and US may reappear in European elections this coming year, their capacity to pursue a similarly radical policy shift is limited.  You can read the full blog here.

Vince Cable-UK Growth

Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable, Professor in Practice for the IGA Global Finance Initiative,spoke at the LSE Growth Commission's panel event "What Next for UK Growth" alongside Alistair Darling, Stephanie Flanders and George Osborne at the LSE on 2 November 2016. You can watch the clip here.

Mario Blejer 2.

Mario Blejer, Visiting Professor at LSE IGA, gave an upbeat assessment of Argentina's recent local currency bond issuance and the early record of the Macri administration in an interview in the magazine Euromoney. For details see here.


Roger Nord, the Deputy Director of the IMF’s African Department gave a talk titled Is Africa Still Rising?  at a joint LSE IGA-Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa event on November 8, drawing a full house. Starting in the mid-1990s, an increasing number of countries in Africa have been experiencing robust and sustained economic growth. But with the collapse of commodity prices, these gains have been called into question. Roger Nord explored if this was a rough patch or the end of Africa Rising, includingroles that new partners such as China and India are playing. He examined how to reap the full benefits of natural resource wealth; address large infrastructure gaps; and, looking further ahead: how to ensure that the Africa’s demographic dividend is a blessing and not a curse for economic development. The podcast is available here.


This Autumn, 2nd-4th November, the IGA team is attending the Alliance of Leading University on Migration (ALUM) Workshop on Bringing Together Research and Practice hosted by the University of Mannheim. The workshop strives to offer a format appealing to both migration researchers and practitioners, and to build on the success of ALUM's research conference in Siracusa in April 2016. For more information, see here.


Caroline Freund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and former chief economist for the Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank delivered a lecture to a full house on October 25, drawing from her book, Rich People Poor Countries: The Rise of Emerging-Market Tycoons and Their Mega Firms. The lecture was chaired by Professor Erik Berglof, Director of the Institute of Global Affairs. You can listen to the podcast of Caroline’s lecture here and her powerpoint presentation is available for download here.

Nina Hall

Dr Nina Hall delivered a lecture to a large audience on October 24, drawing on her book, Displacement, Development, and Climate Change: International Organizations Moving Beyond their Mandates Hall examined the responses of the UNHCR, UNDP and IOM- all three established in a post-war time period- to identify changes in their organisational rhetoric, policy, structure, operations and overall mandate to address one specific new challenge: climate change. Hall’s key finding is that in the last fifteen years these three organisations have moved beyond their original mandates and are assisting people in developing countries affected by climate change even though their member states did not specifically delegate this task. The key driver for change was their staff, the international civil servants. The discussant was Dr Robert Falkner, Associate Professor of International Relations at LSE; the lecture was chaired by Professor Erik Berglof, Director of the Institute of Global Affairs and himself a former high ranking international civil servant. You can listen to the podcast of Nina’s lecture here.

Erik Berglof

Everyone have a listen! Ahead of tonight’s public lecture examining the book "Rich People, Poor Countries: The Rise of Emerging Market Tycoons and Their Mega Firms" written by Caroline Freund, former Chief Economist of the Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank. Matt Cox from Share Radio spoke to Professor Erik Berglof, Director of the Institute of Global Affairs and Chair of the event, to find out about the effects of the mega rich living in developing countries. Listen to the podcast here.


LSE’s Centre for Women, Peace and Security has announced a formal partnership with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Dr Dubravka Šimonovic, to help support delivery of her mandate. Dr Šimonovic has also been appointed as a Visiting Professor in Practice at LSE. The partnership emerges from the Centre’s ongoing work on tackling violence against women, including with CEDAW, the UN monitoring body dedicated to the elimination of discrimination against women.A new website has also been launched as part of the project. The Tackling Violence against Women site is dedicated to explaining the international and regional human rights systems that can be used to combat violence against women and girls.

Julie Lindahl

Professor Julie Lindahl delivered a thought- provoking and moving lecture on Oct 13 drawing on her book ‘In Search of Truth in the Long Shadows of Nationalism’. Throughout a 6-year intensive research she discovered her grandparent’s role in National Socialism and the SS in war-torn Poland. Her journey of discovery has taken her to Germany, Poland and Latin America, the place of her birth. Julie’s work seeks to understand the process of radicalization, and the reverberations of war and violence on the generations that followed. Her key finding is that even if history does not necessarily repeat itself, human behaviour does, and when democratic institutions are undermined, bad outcomes can re-occur. The podcast of Julie’s lecture is available here.


This week the European Parliament Intergroup on Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas discussed global ocean biodiversity governance. IGA Visiting Fellow Torsten Thiele spoke as one of the Participating Experts. The European Union is playing a leading role in the development of a new United Nations High Seas Biodiversity Agreement presently under discussion in New York.


LSE IGA Panel brings in the research angle at the IMF-World Bank meeting

At the recent gatherings of the worlds' senior policy makers and bankers in Washington DC, an IGA financial policy panel provided an oasis for deeper reflection on some of today's pressing policy issues. IGA Director, Professor Erik Berglof, introduced the Rethinking Global Finance project, the framework for much of our research in this area. Mario I. Blejer, Visiting Professor at IGA, spoke about the diverging monetary policy objectives of advanced and emerging economies. He also discussed Argentina's successful policy turnaround under the Macri government and possible political economy risks going forward. Associate Professor Keyu Jin, Department of Economics, considered how financial and trade liberalisation will impact financial stability in EMEs operating under financial friction including state ownership? Piroska Nagy-Mohacsi of LSE IGA discussed some critical economics of the "debt overhang" both in advanced and emerging economies, and possible policy implications. We also had a guest, Philip Turner of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), a long-time research collaborator with IGA panel members, who spoke about cross-border capital flows and related, and diverging monetary policy stance(s) among the key central banks of the advanced world (Federal Reserve, ECB, and Japan). More information here


The European Union hosted its first Blue Economy Science and Business Forum in Hamburg. It was opened by the mayor of Hamburg (in the photo). IGA Visiting Fellow Torsten Thiele spoke on the 2nd Panel: From Lab to Market - how scientific discoveries lead to industrial success. The EU Blue Economy provides over 5 million jobs and approximately 4% of Europe’s Gross Domestic Product. New technologies, including underwater engineering and DNA sequencing offer possibilities to increase this contribution.


Last week the IUCN World Parks Congress adopted important motions and the Hawai'i Commitments, key to address in particular the challenges to global biodiversity loss, with an emphasis on better ocean protection. LSE IGA Visiting Fellow Torsten Thiele spoke on several panels, discussing the environmental regime of the international ocean seafloor and identifying potential financing mechanisms for ocean conservation.

At the congress an authoritative report on ocean warming was released; it can be found here.

Jeromin Zettelmeyer

Germany and Brexit

The LSE IGA Power Breakfast series hosted a top-notch panel of experts on September 7 on major dilemmas following the Brexit vote, looking in particular at the German perspective. Dr Jeromin Zettelmeyer, outgoing Director General for Economic Policy at the German Ministry of Economy and Energy; Sir Vince Cable, former UK Business Secretary and Visiting Professor at LSE IGA; and LSE’s EU politics expert, Professor Simon Hix discussed the key concerns on both sides and the political obstacles to the various possible outcomes. The Power Breakfasts are a series of private seminars sponsored by Royal Mail that bring together world-leading thinkers and policymakers.


Resilience Research: IGA-Rockefeller Funding Call - Second Round

The IGA invites colleagues from across LSE to participate in the second round of calls under its ‘Research and Impact Seed Fund’. 

This round is again supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. Up to £1.5m is available under the broad theme of ‘Resilience’. 

Internal call – Open to LSE applicants only


LSE partners with NAFIN to establish new visiting fellow programme in the Latin America and Caribbean Centre

The new LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre (LACC), in association with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, has appointed Emilio Garmendia, pictured, as the first NAFIN Visiting Fellow. Starting in September 2016 (Michaelmas term), Emilio will conduct research into financial instruments and mechanisms for green financing. More information here


Torsten Thiele on Credible High Seas Governance

LSE IGA Visiting Fellow Torsten Thiele spoke at the International Marine Conservation Congress in St.John’s, Newfoundland this week. He was also part of an expert workshop identifying issues in preparation of the next round of discussions later this month at the United Nations for a new High Seas Biodiversity Agreement. To find out more, visit here

Piroska Nagy Mohacsi

Is Cuba reforming since President Obama's visit?

Piroska Nagy-Mohacsi, Programme Director and researcher at LSE IGA, participated in an international conference in Miami, which aimed to assess reform progress in Cuba against the backdrop of the historic visits of the Pope and President Obama, the 7th Party Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (CPC) in April right after Obama’s visit, as well as a massive external shock from crisis-ridden Venezuela’s decision to cut cheap energy supplies to Cuba, on which it desperately depends. The conference was organised by the Washington-based Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE), with participation by mainly US universities well as some 20 academics and journalists from Cuba itself. More information here.


LSE in Brussels

On 13 July 2016, LSE hosted Migration: maintaining hospitality at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event was part of the LSE IGA Migration Initiative, on which Peter Sutherland is a Professor of Practice.  A group of 50 senior Commission officials, MEPs, NGO activists as well as experts and politicians from across Europe talked about how to ensure that European citizens remained hospitable to immigrants. More information here.  


Who Owns What (WOW)?

The Institute of Global Affairs (IGA) and NGO Global Witness hosted a brainstorming seminar on Who Owns What (WOW)?-  Improving Corporate Governance through the UK Beneficial Ownership Data Release Project. The project leverages the UK Government’s historic announcement to publish a new central public register on who owns and controls companies in the UK. More information here


IGA Visiting Fellow Torsten Thiele has been participating in the The International Seabed Authority (ISA)'s annual meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, as Observer on behalf of IUCN, the world’s largest environmental network. Torsten moderated an information session for all delegates, "Environmental Aspects of the ISA Exploitation Regulations", provided by the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition earlier this week to ensure that these critical environmental concerns and legal obligations are fully taken into account. More information here

Agnieszka Wysokińskavisiting fellow at IGA LSE, gave a seminar on the "Role of Institutions and Culture in the Long - Term Development. Exploiting a Natural Experiment of History". In her research she shows that partition of Poland in the 19th century between three neighboring powers -Prussian, Russian and Austro-Hungary - have long term consequences for economic development of those lands. After 100 years from unification of these lands, Prussian partition is 10-20 % richer than Russian and Austro-Hungarian. The effects are causal and the channel of persistence in development suggests institutional rather than cultural explanation. The latter is  based on additional evidence provided by random shock to culture from Stalin's forced migration movements to Western and Northern Territories in Poland. To find out more, visit here
Blue Finance-Torsten

Torsten Thiele, visiting fellow at the LSE IGA, delivered a talk on blue finance on June 7, 2016. He outlined the conceptual background to blue finance, addressing practical issues and suggesting specific approaches. More information about it here

Paul Herbert
LSE IGA hosted a seminar where Paul Herbert and Reiner Martin of the European Central Bank presented the new Financial Stability Review. Paul argued that while systemic risks in the Eurozone were broadly contained, important issues remained and the risk of "japanisation" was there. More information about it here

Torsten Thiele, Visiting Fellow at LSE IGA, was identified as one of seven ocean leaders in the French magazine Les Echos for his work in promoting financing to address global ocean challenges. The article describes his efforts to develop "Blue Finance" solutions to better protect marine ecosystems. 

In the blog post Time to Worry about Illiquidity, visiting fellow Elina Ribakova argues that at a time when central banks have injected unprecedented amounts of money, worrying about illiquidity may appear odd. However, if poorly understood and unaddressed, illiquidity could be the foundation of the next financial crisis.

Last week IGA Director Erik Berglof together with Piroska Nagy-Mohacsi and Torsten Thiele participated in a international gathering hosted by the Aurora Borealis Foundation in Svalbard. Read more about it here


Resilience Research: IGA-Rockefeller Seed Funding Call

The Institute of Global affairs (IGA) invites colleagues from across the LSE community to participate in the first round of calls under its ‘Research and Impact Seed Fund’. More information here

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