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Changing the game: Bob Axelrod's powerful blueprint for peace

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We've all heard the dictum, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. It's an ancient Mesopotamian legal tradition recorded in Hammurabi's Code and in the holy texts of many religious faiths. The concept is simple: repay insult in kind—wound for wound, stripe for stripe, even life for life.

We've also heard the counterargument—an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. But the two are far from mutually exclusive explains Robert Axelrod in his highly acclaimed book, The Evolution of Cooperation, which outlines a powerfully effective recipe for deescalating conflict.

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Memory and justice: Assembling archives of mass atrocities

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A woman in Cambodia recently released more than 1,000 photographs of people imprisoned by the Khmer Rouge—the genocidal Democratic Kampuchea regime that ruled the country from 1975–79. She had worked in the regime's prison system and, fearing reprisal for her involvement, had hidden the photos. She gave the photos to the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM), but for nearly thirty years, family members didn't know what had happened to their loved ones.

Now they know.

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Mapping terror: Understanding terrorist networks and alliances

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

People collaborate—it's what we do. We work together to tackle big problems. We work together to achieve big goals. We give favors, in hopes that they'll be reciprocated. We look out for each other, in hopes that someone else will look out for us in our moment of need. These collaborations make us stronger, smarter, safer, and more successful.

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Something worth fighting for: The future of an arms trade treaty

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

In July 2012, an eleventh hour phone call with instructions from the White House abruptly stalled passage of an all-but-complete 193-nation Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations. Susan Waltz, professor of public policy, believes that was a mistake.

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Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

International development interns put ideas to work

One block down Hill Street, just west of State, is Ali Baba's, a small Middle Eastern restaurant with habit-forming grape leaves and baklava. Any day of the week, you're sure to find a table, or two, or five filled with folks from the Ford School. On just such a visit, I met Dionisio Garcia Piriz (MPP/MA '13), a dual degree master's student who had recently returned from a mind-bending summer internship exploring savings habits among indigenous Tsimané (chee-MAH-nay) tribes in the lowland forests of the Bolivian Amazon. Because most Tsimané rely on barter, the question of how they save for the future—how they build a cushion to support themselves if the plantains, rice, and sweet manioc crops fail—is an intriguing one. And Piriz's Tsimané study wasn't a one-off; it was part of a much larger study of non-traditional savings practices among tribes all over the developing world.

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A conversation with businessman, philanthropist, and Ford School friend, Hank Meijer

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Detroiters spend an estimated $4.6 billion each year on groceries and other merchandise. And more than $1.5 billion of those retail dollars are spent outside of the city.

That's about to change: in May 2012 Michigan-based retailer Meijer broke ground on the first of two planned locations. The first location will anchor the forthcoming Gateway Marketplace on the city's west side with a supercenter—a combination grocery and department store format employed by other retailers but originated by Meijer in 1962.

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Irrepressible First Lady Betty Ford

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Being ladylike does not require silence

There are photos and movies of Betty Ford in her family home from the 1960s. They show a caring homemaker and mother, busy looking after her husband and four young children in their suburban Virginia home. In these images, she looks every inch the typical midcentury middle-class housewife.

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Having an impact now

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When Jeff Kessner (MPP/MUP '14) joined the Nonprofit and Public Management Center (NPM) last year, he knew he would learn a lot about how nonprofits work. But he didn't know that he would soon be on the board of one.

"I was a Board Fellow last year, and this year they asked me to join the board as a full voting member. So I am actually on the board now as a member and as a peer mentor for the five new Board Fellows."

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BA alum works to ensure prisoners' civil rights

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

For Gary Graca (BA '09), a degree in public policy was about seeing what happens out of public view. As a paralegal in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Graca visits the inner workings of state-funded prisons and mental health facilities to ensure compliance with civil rights laws. Much of Graca's work is based on Olmstead v. L.C., a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibits states from institutionalizing people with disabilities if they could be accommodated in community care settings. Failure to follow the Court's "integration mandate" would be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Everyday innovation

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ford School alumni 'work smart' on international development at USAID

"Just imagine the communities you came from if, within a six-week period of time, your schools had to double in capacity to take in refugees from a neighboring country," proposed Rajiv Shah (BS '95), Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) at a late September talk sponsored by ONE and hosted by the Ford School, "and you get a sense of both the scale of the challenge—and the potential—for real partnership between the United States and Jordan."

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The heart of security

Monday, December 17, 2012

New IPC director Allan Stam is taking the research center in bold new directions. His latest project on the 1994 Rwandan genocide shows, for him, what's really at stake: how to improve the lives of citizens.

Allan C. Stam, the new director of the Ford School's International Policy Center, has been officially on duty for 27 days, and confides that he's feeling a little behind. He doesn't seem behind to an outsider though. He seems energetic, effusive, funny, and ambitious. He seems like he's got his head in the game and is just about ready to reinvent it. And he seems like someone who throws himself, body and soul, into whatever he undertakes, whether that's goose hunting in Manitoba, tackling the Himalayan range in Nepal, investigating ongoing caste-based discrimination in India, or, as is now the case, running an international policy center.

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Former dean and Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca M. Blank returns to the Ford School

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Ford School welcomed former dean and Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca M. Blank back to Weill Hall on Monday, December 3, where she held a community conversation with students, faculty, and staff. At the event, Dr. Blank delivered remarks then fielded audience questions.

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Justin Wolfers speaks with Marketplace on gift-giving

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

American Public Media's Marketplace spoke with Justin Wolfers for the program's holiday edition of the Freakonomics podcast. In a playful segment about gift-giving, Marketplace asked Wolfers and other economists for advice on choosing that perfect holiday present.

Many gift-givers, Wolfers told Marketplace, actually spend more than they need too.

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Ford School Dean Collins appointed to Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Susan M. Collins, dean of the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, was appointed Wednesday to the board of directors of the Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

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Rabe, Ruff speak with The Detroit News on right-to-work

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Detroit News interviewed Barry Rabe and Craig Ruff about the decision by Governor Rick Snyder to endorse right-to-work legislation in Michigan.

The decision, Rabe said, could be a defining moment in Snyder's political career, potentially branding him as an unusually partisan political figure.

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Stevenson speaks with Marketplace on November jobs numbers

Friday, December 7, 2012

Betsey Stevenson spoke with American Public Media's Marketplace about the significance of jobs figures in the Labor Department's November employment report. While it is expected that jobs figures worsened in November, Stevenson cautioned against reading too much into the results. For one, Stevenson said, the numbers are subject to a significant margin of error.

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Congratulations to John Chamberlin, Elena Delbanco as they retire

Friday, December 7, 2012

As the semester draws to a close, as John grades his last paper and Elena ties up her final student conference, we congratulate them once again, thanking them for all they've contributed to our Ford School community, and wishing them marvelous retirement adventures.

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Battle Creek Enquirer interviews Joe Schwarz on right to work

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Battle Creek Enquirer interviewed Joe Schwarz about the possibility of new right-to-work legislation after a week of events indicating that the Michigan legislature could soon take up the issue. After the Michigan Chamber of Commerce voiced support for right to work and Governor Rick Snyder stated it was on his agenda, Schwarz commented on the potential dangers of taking up the issue now.

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Informed Relief: Andrew Schroeder (MPP '07)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Part of what can make a hurricane deadly is the storm surge that follows: high winds that cause the sea level to rise significantly above the average high-tide line. Storm surges caused devastation in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and, most recently, during Hurricane Sandy, when more than 8,000,000 East Coast residents lost power.

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