Posts Tagged ‘Dissertation’

Welcome to Lent Term!

I’m sitting in Cafe 54 on campus, sipping some coffee (only one cup — one of my NY resolutions is to cut back on caffeine consumption) and watching the hordes of people that are back on campus… it was so nice being here just a week ago when the majority of people were sleeping their lives away in their homeland. Now, once again, it’s packed and I have to use physical force to find an outlet. In any case, my first seminar of this term is done and though my brain was only 60% on, it was good to get back into the groove of things! I have a busy week ahead: on campus today from 930A to around 6P, with Tuesday and Thursday shaping up to be very similar. I’m still trying to decide on my last class for this term, so I’m sitting in on three lectures, hoping one will really stand out (Public Management of Development, African Development and Globalization & Social Policy — if you have insight, leave me a comment)!

This term is going to be a rough one, but now that I’m back in an intellectually stimulating environment, I feel much more prepared to take on assessed essays, dissertation proposals, exams, job applications and the like. I’ve also made it my goal to go to at least one LSE public lecture or partake in some cultural experience each and every week. Also, exciting (for you LSEers out there), my lovely flatmate, Lindsay, has her own radio show (‘Brunch Buffet’ on Pulse Radio) this term! If you’re an LSEer and want to show a peer some support, you can join her facebook group here!

In other news, I have a load of guests coming to visit in the next few months: my cousins are coming for a jaunt over from Malta next week; my sister & dad are coming in April (yay!) and my cousin from San Diego is coming over for a couple of months in the summer! My (overly ambitious) goal is to have my dissertation mostly completed by the first week of July so that my cousin and I can do a bit of traveling while I put the final touches on my thesis. Here’s to hoping! Send some positive energy my way <3.

Now back to work!

More Moyo for Moi.

I just finished reading  a newly published book entitled Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is Another Way for Africa by Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian native. Born and raised in Zambia, she has worked for Goldman Sachs and at the World Bank as a consultant. She obtained her Masters from Harvard and her PhD in Economics at Oxford and, all in all has some amazing, eye-opening (albeit controversial) views on the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of aid in Africa. The foreword, which was written by Niall Ferguson, problematizes the idea of the public debate on Africa’s economic problems being conducted by ‘non-African white men’ (Jeffrey Sachs, William Easterly, Paul Collier, etc.) and ‘rock stars’ like Bono and Bob Geldof. It follows that having a book of this magnitude written by an African woman makes it that much more salient. I found the text so eye-opening, in fact, that I’ve been flirting with the area of aid dependency as a dissertation topic; it is an area that I find incredibly interesting and somewhat controversial. Four books currently gracing my desk? The White Man’s Burden (Easterly 2006), Organizing US Foreign Aid (Lancaster 2005), Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics (Lancaster 2007) and Aid to Africa (Lancaster 1999).

Though I have always been a self-diagnosed proponent of the ‘pro-aid model,’ I have found myself delving into loads of literature that has changed my point of view (the flexibility of one’s mind is one of the things I love about being a grad student). Moyo is one of many academics/economists/intellectual forces that has criticized aid, and the reasons that she brings to the forefront are hardly unsubstantiated. In fact, it would seem that if most people were given the facts on aid in the way that she presents them, very few people would be proponents of doling out the huge amount of systematic aid that we do. She suggests that Africa has not only not been able to development due to large aid inflows, but it continues to flounder in a state of poverty because of aid. Due to the corrupt nature of government, bilateral and multilateral funding is easily stolen/misused by those in power. Additionally, due to the fact that elites end up with access to aid, people are that much more compelled to fight for powerful positions, further engendering violence and hostility. Regardless of your stance on aid, I highly recommend picking it up. It’s a relatively easy read and it has a lot of great information.

One of my coursemates sent me a video of this debate between Dambisa Moyo and Alison Evans, the head of the ODI. It’s 22 minutes long, but it’s definitely worth checking out. Also, if you want more Moyo, here’s a shorter clip (under 10 minutes) from a CNN segment.

Now I’m off to read some Easterly — I’ll let you know if my views change (yet again)!

Happy learning!

Done and… DONE!

I am exceedingly excited at this point in the day. It’s 2:21P and I have finished my formative essay due tomorrow along with my formative due on Monday for my core course. It feels so good to not have to worry about essay writing this weekend! I’m going to take a moment tomorrow to re-read through them (to make sure they’re as coherent as I think they are), but other than that, I can go out and explore London now that it’s decked out for Christmas!

In other news, I started Project: Getting Groove Back on Monday, wherein I am endeavoring to regain said groove. From getting off the plane in London to present day, I lost it somewhere (probably somewhere between the Digestive cookies and the formative essays), and I am attempting to find it once more. This groove regaining entails: normal gym sessions (5- 6 days per week, like the good old days!), tanning (sunless or otherwise), getting my hair cut and highlighted next Wednesday and overall re-beautification of self. It feels good to feel good about yourself, so I am on the road to recovery. Hopefully I’ll be there by December — wish me luck!

Also, a few realizations as of late:

1) I like wine. I prefer white because I’m rather wimpy, but I have developed a taste for red. As anyone who has known me will tell you, this is quite a feat. I have always wanted to like wine (for purposes of looking classy whilst out and about… currently I resort to sugar-laden Cosmos, but I digress), but I’ve never really had a taste for it. In the last few weeks, I have developed a bit of a liking for it!

2) Dissertation is approaching. Well, not really approaching that quickly, I suppose, but considering I am already done with Week #7 (of 20) in graduate school, I guess it will be here before we know it! That being said, I should probably figure out what I actually want to write my dissertation on, and start doing some research!

That’s all for today! I’m going to prepare for this evening — our floor is hosting an “Around the World” party, wherein each flat is given a country and provides drinks from the region. Fittingly, we were given Italy, so we’re going to grab bottles of wine and put out some delicious Italian fare for passersby. Other countries & drinks? Mexico’s upside down margaritas, US’s jello shots, Japan’s sake bombs, UK’s pimms (not sure what that is!), and then a mystery flat that’s suprising us! Should be fun!