13
Feb

What sort of education secretary will Betsy DeVos make?

Written on February 13, 2017 by Santiago Iñiguez in Education

By Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño, President of IE University.

This past week the US Senate ratified the nomination of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. I am not going to join in the already extensive comment on her capacity for the job, and even if I may not share some of her views, particularly on public morality, I believe that her critics are wrong in focusing more on her person than her ideas. Like it or not, she is probably the member of the president’s cabinet with the strongest sense of mission, consistent values and acquaintance with her province.

Over her career, DeVos has been involved in a number of educational causes, notably advocating for school choice and school vouchers. For the uninitiated, supporters of this cause defend the right of parents to choose their children’s school regardless of its location and to receive government financial aid to do so. This policy has favored the growth of private schools, which are financially supported by the state at the expense of traditional public schools, say critics. Experience shows that when there is a subsidized choice, the majority of parents pick private schools.

DeVos and her husband have also put their money where their ideas lie: Forbes ranks them among the 25 top families that have contributed the largest donations to healthcare, social initiatives and education in the United States, to the tune of $1.3 billion dollars.

Given DeVos’ libertarian ideology, what might we expect to see in higher education over the coming years? Read more…

8
Feb

Marruecos vuelve a la Unión Africana entre interrogantes

Written on February 8, 2017 by Administrador de IE Blogs in International Relations

Por Haizam Amirah Fernández,  Profesor Asociado de Humanidades en IE Business School.

El 30 de enero de 2017, la Unión Africana (UA) pasó de tener 54 estados miembros a tener 55. Ese día, cerca de 40 de sus integrantes apoyaron la solicitud de readmisión de Marruecos en la organización panafricana. Era el único estado del continente africano que permanecía al margen.

Marruecos fue miembro fundador en 1963 de la Organización para la Unidad Africana (OUA), predecesora de la UA, pero decidió abandonarla en 1984 por la admisión de la República Árabe Saharaui Democrática (RASD) en su seno. Por su parte, la RASD figura como miembro fundador de la UA en su Acta Constitutiva que entró en vigor en mayo de 2001.

Tras más de tres décadas de ausencia, Marruecos ha vuelto a la organización panafricana a pesar de que la RASD sigue siendo miembro de pleno derecho. La decisión marroquí habría parecido inimaginable hasta hace menos de un año. Sin embargo, en julio de 2016 el rey Mohamed VI reconoció que el autoexilio de su país de la UA tenía que ser corregido, en lo que suponía un reconocimiento de la inutilidad de la política de “silla vacía”.

La decisión de solicitar la readmisión en la organización continental ha sido un empeño personal del monarca alauí. Esa decisión fue precedida por una intensa campaña diplomática que incluyó numerosas visitas del rey de Marruecos a países del África subsahariana. Asimismo, Marruecos ha desarrollado un plan de expansión de sus actividades económicas y comerciales en el resto del continente, sobre todo en los países de África occidental y en los francófonos. En la actualidad es el segundo inversor africano en el continente, por detrás de Sudáfrica. La presencia de sus bancos, empresas de telecomunicaciones, aseguradoras y líneas aéreas no deja de crecer en distintos países africanos. También busca una mayor influencia religiosa mediante la formación de imames y ulemas subsaharianos en instituciones islámicas marroquíes. Read more…

7
Feb
30
Jan

By Veena Venugopal

Last week I was shivering in the -12°C weather in a historic little town called Segovia in Spain. I was there on invitation from one of the big universities, IE University, to give their students an idea about contemporary India. What is India beyond the global headlines of the IT industry? What are the social, political and economic issues that India and Indians currently face?

On the panel with me was Eugenio Luján, who is the dean of philology at Complutense University of Madrid and a scholar on vedic history. He traced the strengths and problems of India from a historical context and my job was to inform them about their contemporary status. How does caste work, what are the gender norms for Indian women, why is it that there are communal clashes here; actually since people live so close to each other, how is it that there aren’t more communal clashes? How do the rich behave? How do the poor cope? How does inequality play out across various areas?

What was fascinating for me was not just the fact that a bunch of students braved the weather and turned up at 7pm — after a full day of class — because they were curious about issues in India but, more importantly, that they did this for something that has very little to do with their coursework or examinations. They don’t earn credit from this, they are not tested on their knowledge of this country. They merely wanted to get an idea of how things worked in other places. Last year, they listened to people from Russia. Next year, they’ll pick another nation and try and grapple with the ground realities there. It was impressive, this commitment to general awareness of the world around them. Read more…

26
Jan

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