Month: September 2014

The Elephant in the Room

The 2014 Tribune Festival’s coverage of issues related to higher education in Texas began with a panel discussion on the State’s Closing the Gap education plan. Texas initiated the initial plan in 2000 to address low minority postsecondary education rates. This year’s panel was composed of educators, analysts, administrators and politicians, some having served in multiple of these roles during the course of their careers. Overall, panelists felt the initial plan had been largely successful, and that things were moving in a positive direction, but all agreed that much work remained to be done. With the state’s dynamic growth...

Read More

A Security Balancing Act

Originally published by the U.S. News & World Report. As the Obama administration ramped up its war against the Islamic State group last week, I was visiting Israel with a bipartisan group of 12 leaders from Washington think tanks. During meetings with a variety of current and former Israeli government and military officials, as well as our counterparts from think tanks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, we discussed the security challenges facing our respective countries. Some of what I heard was expected; but other things were more surprising. Israel faces real threats in every direction. Its primary concern remains...

Read More

In Defense of Pretty Maps

Cartography is pretty hot these days. Maps tap into our brains’ spatial reasoning abilities to make any public issue more immediate and understandable to wider audiences—and with the advent of open data and free tools, anyone with a computer can produce maps. Clearly, the trend has particular consequences for policymaking, although the burden of proof is on the mapmaker to answer a crucial question: “can your map actually change anything?” In my time with AidData, Innovations for Peace and Development, and most recently USAID’s Africa Bureau, this has been the recurring response to pretty maps explaining aid allocation or...

Read More

Dear Scotland, Don’t Go

If, as the adage goes, history rarely repeats itself but often rhymes, then Scottish voters may be dangerously close to the end of a verse. On Thursday, Scottish voters will go to the polls to vote on whether or not to leave the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, the plan for independence does not include monetary independence. At first glance, this policy may seem somewhat sensible. Breaking up is hard to do. Scotland has a lot of trade with England, and introducing a separate Scottish currency would complicate that relationship as the exchange rate between the Scottish currency and the British...

Read More

Animal Welfare in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a vast country with terrain that varies from deserts to lush green jungles.  During my time in country, there was one aspect that stood out no matter where in Ethiopia I traveled: donkeys.  Donkeys were everywhere.  No, not the blue donkey taxis–the living and breathing animal kind. I could usually spot them grazing next to a busy road or even in the middle of the road; seemingly oblivious to the cars zooming past.  They could be found throughout the capital city and in most rural areas.  It quickly became obvious to me during my stay in Ethiopia...

Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Quick Jump