Four students from the UMass School of Public Policy (SPP) were selected from policy programs around the world to take part in a competition designed to address global hunger. The competition, held on February 25, 2017, simulated real-world conditions faced by policy analysts in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working on food insecurity.
The competition, held annually, was sponsored by the Network of Schools of Public Policy and Administration (NASPAA) and the University of Virginia’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.
SPP students Danielle Corrado (MPPA ’18), Palista Kharel (MPPA/MBA ’17), Derek Krevat (MPPA/MRP ’17), and Estefania Marti Malvido (MPPA ’18) traveled to Columbia University in New York for the competition. They were among 400 graduate students selected to participate in competitions held at Columbia and at universities in seven other cities: Washington, D.C.; Indianapolis, IN; Tempe, AZ; Seattle, WA; Bogotá, Colombia; Beijing, China; and Maastricht, Netherlands.
As part of their simulation, student teams analyzed data, evaluated computer simulation results, drafted memos and policy recommendations, and presented their proposals to teams of local site judges.
Commenting on the success of the competition, NASPAA President David Birdsell stated: “Food security is one of the world’s most pressing policy concerns. [The competition] participants…have shown the capacity to deal substantively and creatively with [food security] problems, giving us every confidence that they will go on to do outstanding work in public service.”
Krevat noted that the competition was a “fantastic networking opportunity,” and according to Kharel, “I learned that one-size-fits-all policy recommendations about global hunger are not a solution, especially in the growing threat of climate change.”
The award for first place in the competition went to a student team at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá.
SPP is the hub of interdisciplinary public policy research, teaching and engagement at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.