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Policy in Practice Seminars


The Policy in Practice Seminars (PiPs) is an integral feature of the MPA programme. They are held five times in Michaelmas and Lent Terms, focusing each time on a particular topic and sector, in which professionals or researchers share their experience and insight with MPA students. 

PiPs provide an opportunity to link up classroom learning to real world scenarios and to bring their theoretical learning to life, often corroborating or challenging things they have learned. These seminars are informal and students have an opportunity to interact with the speakers in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.



Dr Joyce Banda is the former President of Malawi, and the second woman to lead an African nation. She joined the Institute of Public Affairs for one week as a Visiting Professor-in-Practice for  Above the Parapet project. As part of her visit, Dr Banda made her time available exclusively to MPA students in a Policy in Practice seminar. She shared her experiences from her residency and discussed her vision to eradicate poverty.


Professor Conor Gearty, Director of the Institute of Public Affairs and Professor of Human Rights Law at LSE, discussed his experiences of working with policy-makers to create public policy in the fight against terrorism.


Tom Adams, Director of Impact for Acumen, talked about how Acumen works to encourage entrepreneurialism in the developing world in the fight against poverty.


Michael Kell, Chief Economist at the National Audit Office, discussed how public audit contributes to more informed public policy across a wide range of issues including cyber security, government procurement, social care provision, and local economic development and growth. 

He was joined by his colleagues David Timmins and Zaina Steityeh, an MPA graduate. 

Logo of The Elders organisation

Andrew Whitley, Policy and Advocacy Director for the Elders, discussed the role of non-state actors in demanding accountability from rogue states. 


James Deane, Director of Policy and Learning at BBC Media Action,  assessed the role of evidence and policy analysis in responding to health challenges. He focussed on the role of health communication in responding to challenges where there is no cure and very limited treatments and where prevention provides the most effective response.  


Michaela Bergman, Chief Counsellor for Social Issues at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), discussed the challenges of approving the EBRD's Environment and Social Policy, which involes negotiating with a wide variety of stakeholders, both internal and external.


Duncan Green is Senior Strategic Adviser at Oxfam GB and author of From Poverty to Power: How Active Citizens and Effective States can Change the World. He discussed the role of international NGOs in the rapidly changing globalised world.


The Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Guy Trouveroy, Belgian Ambassador to the UK shared his insight on economic diplomacy and bilateral diplomatic work and the implications for policy-making.


Her Excellency Roza Otunbaeva, former President of the Kyrgyz Republic and the first female head of state, spoke about her experience of being a president and the challenges of implemeting policy in practice.


Owen Barder is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and the Director for Europe. He discussed a novel policy, called an Advance Market Commitment, designed to unleash the innovation and skills of private enterprise to tackle the world’s biggest killer diseases.


Kishore Mahbubani is the Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He discussed the implications of globalisation for relations between Asia and the West.


Prince Turki Al Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud was Director General of the General Intelligence Directorate (GID), Saudi Arabia's main foreign intelligence service, from 1977 until 2001. In 2002 he was appointed as the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, a position he served until 2005, when he was appointed as Ambassador to the United States. He talked about the state of the Arab world after the "Arab Awakening" revolutions.


Alice M. Rivlin is the Director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, the Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies and a Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. She discussed policy making in the health sector.