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  • Author: Ania Calderón, Sergio Fajardo
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: The vision of an academic-turned-politician has brought a stream of creativity to local public administration in Colombia. It is said that disruptive innovation occurs at the edge of disciplines. And Sergio Fajardo, mathematician and former journalist, has managed to leverage such cross-discipline dialogues and energize communities to engage with public planning objectives. As mayor of Medellín in Colombia from 2004 to 2007, he "introduced transparency fairs, broke clientelistic political networks, raised tax receipts, improved public services, established civic pacts and restored citizens' sense of hope," and the Inter-American Development Bank recognized the city as an exemplary case of good public administration in Latin America. Furthermore, Medellín was recently named the world's most innovative city in a competition organized by the non-profit Urban Land Institute. In the following interview with Ania Calderón of the Journal, Dr. Fajardo highlights the importance of building trust in society to face the public management challenges of developing countries in Latin America and explains how, as governor of the state of Antioquia, the scale of impact he now faces at a regional versus local level can be tackled with the same mission, but carried under a different leadership role.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Victoria Webster
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Informality and Illegality in the Exploitation of Gold and Timber in Antioquia Jorge Giraldo Ramírez and Juan Carlos Muñoz Mora (Medellín: Centro de Análisis Político Universidad Eafit and Proantioquia, 2012), 197 pages. In Informality and Illegality authors Jorge Giraldo Ramírez and Carlos Muñoz Mora, both professors in Antioquia, Colombia, analyze how the gold and timber sectors have become a source of financing for armed groups. Rather than simply rehashing the old resource-curse debate, this slim, but dense, Spanish-language book performs a microlevel analysis of Antioquia's extractive supply chains and impressively identifies the precise mechanisms that incentivize illegal armed actors to enter the market. According to the authors, the confluence of informal extractive markets with high levels of socio-economic inequality and the absence of a well-functioning state incentivizes nonstate actors to assume the state's role and engage in criminal activity. This "criminal ecology" is a self-perpetuating system that is characterized by ineffective state intervention, weak regulation and penalization, and high levels of political and economic leverage by nonstate actors. Ramírez and Mora's findings are impressive, even if their data seems suspect: they find positive correlations between gold mining and the presence of illegal armed groups, informal land tenure, increased violence, and weak institutions. The authors' concluding discussion of contemporary policy recommendations, currently being debated in a variety of forums, including the country's mining code reform and ongoing institutional restructuring process- though appropriate-is too theoretical to be of much use. Moreover, given the dominant role multinational corporations (MNCs) play in Colombia's legal, security, and political spheres, their limited analysis of the relationship of MNCs with Antioquia's supply chain ignores a large part of the policy debate. Though repetitive and dry, Ramirez and Mora's work is a unique take on a polarizing debate. Their framework of the complex relationship between a traditionally informal economy, illegal crime, and the international demand for a scarce resource (gold), while specific to Antioquia, is widely applicable to any number of countries and contexts.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Colombia
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: With millions of users across the world from places as diverse as Colombia, Kenya and Malaysia, Facebook has revolutionized social networking. Randi Zuckerberg, who works on marketing, politics, current events and nonprofit initiatives for Facebook, Inc., explains how 500 million friends are turning the online social network into people power and change for the better. This interview was conducted by Jose Santiago Vericat for the Journal of International Affairs.
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Colombia
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: That Google is changing our world is a well-known fact. How exactly this transformation is taking place and where will it lead, is not. Google's chief technology advocate Michael T. Jones reflects on Google's global impact in conversation with Jose Santiago Vericat of the Journal of International Affairs at Google headquarters in Palo Alto, California.
  • Political Geography: Colombia