Newsletters

Summer 2015

Hand-To-Hand: Human Rights Accompanier Kaya Allan Sugerman

GPP graduate works “hand-to-hand” with threatened communities in Colombia.
Read full article

The Double Burden of Malnutrition: An Interview with Janet King

An interview with Janet King of Children’s Hospital Oakland Research institute.
Read full article

The Ultimate Innovation Jam: Big Ideas@Berkeley Announces 2014-2015 Contest Winners

Big Ideas@Berkeley announces 2014-2015 contest winners.
Read full article

Microsoft’s James Bernard on the Intersection of Education, Technology, and Development

A Q&A with Blum Fellow and Microsoft Education Group Director James Bernard.
Read full article

The Road from CalCAP: Can the University of California Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2025?

Can the University of California achieve carbon neutrality by 2025?
Read full article

A Pattern Searcher from Cal: Rebecca Hui Connects Art, Cows, and Urban Development

Big Ideas Winner Rebecca Hui Connects Art, Cows, and Urban Development.
Read full article

The Measurement Revolution: An Interview with Temina Madon

The managing director of the Development Impact Lab talks about the importance of measurement and evaluation.
Read full article

Daniel Zoughbie’s Contagious Model for Public Health

Microclinic International, founded by BigIdea winner Daniel Zoughbie, is scaling up.
Read full article

More Than Hardware: Challenges in Education Technology in Africa

On April 10, the Blum Center hosted a panel discussion on the private sector’s changing and often challenging role in education transformation in Africa.
Read full article


Spring 2015

The 1,000th Solar Suitcase: Scaling Innovation out of the University

We Care Solar, a Blum Center-supported nonprofit providing energy solutions to health clinics, reaches a milestone.
Read full article

Eat.Think.Design: A Public Health Course for the Startup Generation

Jaspal Sandhu, Nap Hosang, and Kristine Madsen’s Eat.Think.Design course use experiential learning to learn about food and nutrition problems, and to devise actual food and nutrition solutions.
Read full article

Mezuri: Eight Questions for Eric Brewer on Data and Development

Computer Science Eric Brewer talks about his platform to better understand development projects through integrated data analysis.
Read full article

UC Berkeley Science Shop: Connecting Community to University for Research

A Big Ideas@Berkeley winner enables students to do high-impact scholarship and local community organizations to meet their research needs.
Read full article

Generation Innovation: Ashley Tsai on Tropical Disease Research and Eradication

The career trajectory of a bioengineering major is transformed by a GPP practice experience at Kohn Kaen University.
Read full article

Edward Miguel on the Untidy (but Important) Link Between Climate and Violence

Economics Professor Edward Miguel talks about his landmark meta-study and its effects on policy, public opinion, and scholarship.
Read full article

A Cross Sector Exchange on Governance and Digital Technology

Twenty-two members of parliament from 11 countries attended a panel discussion with UC Berkeley researchers at the Blum Center.
Read full article

From Student to Staff: Five Questions for Anh-Thi Le

The program coordinator for the Development Lab talks about her career in poverty action and education.
Read full article

36 UC Berkeley Students Make “Commitments to Action” for 2015 Clinton Global Initiative University

The Blum Center is supporting 36 UC Berkeley students to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University conference at University of Miami, March 6-8.
Read full article


Winter 2014

Beyond Providing Clean Water: A Profile of Development Engineer Syed Imran Ali

Postdoctoral Fellow Syed Imran Ali’s work to reform UN guidelines for refugee camp water systems could protect 50 million people.
Read full article

Teaching Leadership, Female to Female

On the student group “100 Strong,” a summer leadership camp for low-income female students.
Read full article

Generation Innovation: Jessica Prapath on the Realities of Direct Service Work

Many students graduate from Cal intent on making an impact in the world. The reality of direct service work, however, can cause even the most committed to feel discouraged and to question what meaningful and financially sustainable work looks like—challenges that Jessica Praphath, a Cal alumna, faced while working on poverty alleviation in her hometown of Stockton, California.
Read full article

A Device That Could Change Healthcare

There are three innovations without which, CellScope—a breakthrough microscopy project of Dan Fletcher’s bioengineering lab at UC Berkeley—would not be possible. They are also part of landscape of innovations that may revolutionize global healthcare.
Read full article

Electrification for “Under Grid” Households in Rural Kenya: Five Questions for Ken Lee

An interview with Ken Lee, a PhD student in Agricultural and Resource Economics, on a 2012 interdisciplinary research group at UC Berkeley set out to study the demand for and effects of community-level, solar-powered microgrids in Western Kenya.
Read full article

Water Comes First: Ashley Miller’s Work to Support Infrastructure in Southern Kenya

How can a wedding change a village? Sounds like some kind of development riddle, or maybe even a Hollywood screenplay. Not for Global Poverty & Practice senior Ashley Miller. In the summer of 2013, Miller travelled to Nairobi to participate in a study abroad program at Kenyatta University.
Read full article

Winners of Global Poverty & Practice Photo Contest

Each fall, students of the Global Poverty & Practice minor of the Blum Center compete to win a cash prize for best photography from their practice experiences.
Read full article

A Contest to Catalyze Literacy Via Mobiles Worldwide

A 2013/2014 UNESCO report found that 250 million children across the globe are not learning basic literacy and numeracy skills. Big Ideas@Berkeley and USAID’s Global Development Lab are aiming to change these numbers through the Mobiles for Reading contest category by inviting students to develop novel technology-based innovations to enhance reading skills for youth in developing countries.
Read full article

Crawling the Campus for International Development Innovations

A dozen UC Berkeley graduate students eager to learn about different campus initiatives on international development participated in the second “Innovation Crawl” Nov. 20, hosted by the Development Impact Lab (DIL) and the Blum Center for Developing Economies.
Read full article

USAID’s Alex Their on Ending Extreme Poverty

On October 20, the Blum Center for Developing Economies hosted a talk by Alex Thier, head of the Policy, Planning, and Learning Bureau at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Entitled “Ending Extreme Poverty: What UC Berkeley Can Do,” Thier’s talk centered around the Post-2015 Development Agenda, USAID’s role in the development community, and the need for bilateral and multilateral donors to partner with innovative entrepreneurs to make a difference.
Read full article

Fighting for the Last Mile of Women’s Rights

On Dec. 9, Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Undersecretary and Executive Director of UN Women, attended a panel at UC Berkeley’s Blum Center for Developing Economies with leading gender academics to discuss the state of affairs for women and girls around the world.
Read full article


Fall 2014

The Challenges of Development Economics: An Interview with the Blum Center’s Kweku Opoku-Agyemang

Kweku Opoku-Agyemang, a postdoctoral fellow at the Blum Center, believes that one of the greatest downfalls in the field of international development is detachment.
Read full article

Big Ideas Turns Nine

In 2006, Big Ideas @ Berkeley was launched to support multidisciplinary teams of UC Berkeley students interested in big challenges, such as clean energy, safe drinking water, and poverty alleviation. Nine years later, the yearlong student innovation contest has become a model for on-campus collaboration and action—and has expanded to 16 universities around the country and world, including the entire University of California system and the USAID Higher Education Solutions Network.
Read full article

UC Students to Develop Solutions to Global Food Challenges

Inspired by the depth and breadth of activity across the University of California to address challenges in the global food system, Big Ideas@Berkeley, the flagship student innovation contest, has launched a new contest category: Food System Innovations. The category responds to UC President Janet Napolitano’s UC Global Food Initiative — an effort to catalyze all 10 campuses, UC’s Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, various institutes and centers, and a multidisciplinary consortium of faculty, researchers, and students to address food security issues and the related challenges of nutrition and sustainability.
Read full article

A New “OnRamp” Class for Social Innovators

Some people have called it the personalization of higher education. Others see it as the natural evolution of pedagogy at a world-class public research university. Lina Nilsson doesn’t disagree with either of these interpretations, but she definitely sees on-campus, in-class social impact work as “the changing face of education.”
Read full article

Free Speech Movement Legacies and the Promise of Community Engaged Scholarship

While the 1964 Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley focused on one central demand — the freedom of students to openly speak about and engage in political advocacy and organizing on campus — the many months that students dedicated to winning this struggle was nourished by much broader discussions about the nature of higher education and the role of the university in a democracy. This week’s 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley marks an opportunity to reflect on these broader discussions and their legacy. Specifically, as a student advisor and faculty member affiliated with the Blum Center’s Global Poverty & Practice Minor, I want to offer a few thoughts on the meaning and challenge of “community engaged scholarship” in higher education today.
Read full article

Providing Cellular Coverage to Rural Communities

Cellular phones provide vital communication service across the globe, but more than 1 billion people worldwide live beyond the reach of existing networks. As a result, rural users are systematically denied access to valuable services such as emergency communications, taken advantage of by intermediaries because of information asymmetries, and waste already limited resources on less efficient mechanisms for communicating with friends and family outside of their community.
Read full article

Generation Innovation: Sergio Venegas Marin’s Quest to Influence Public Policy

In 2010, Sergio Venegas Marin, a student at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, was aiming to transfer. He looked at eight universities, and settled on UC Berkeley because of it was the only one that offered a course of study like the Global Poverty & Practice (GPP) minor. Born and raised in Cadiz, Spain, Venegas said the GPP minor attracted him because poverty and social problems were part of his everyday life.
Read full article

Makerere University Team First Africans To Win Big Ideas Contest

When Moses Rurangwa moved to Kampala to enroll in Makerere University in 2011, he became a tech geek. He could not put down his cell phone. He decided to major in computer science. Looking at the issues facing his country, he said he began to feel that “although ICT [information and communication technologies] is not very strong in Uganda, it is a path to solving our own problems. There is capacity—people just need motivation.”
Read full article


Spring 2014

Blum Center Hosts Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright addressed a packed audience last Thursday, sharing her perspective on the issues facing the nation and world today. Sponsored by the Blum Center for Developing Economies, founder Richard Blum began the evening by introducing Albright as one of his three favorite women in politics today and described how he enjoyed working with her in The National Democratic Institute.
Read full article

Development Engineering Seminars Explore Technology-Based Solutions to Poverty

UC Berkeley’s Development Impact Lab (DIL) is forging a new, interdisciplinary field of academic and applied research – Development Engineering (DevEng) – housed at the Blum Center. Development Engineering seeks to train a new cadre of experts to tightly integrate social and economic insights in the development of technology and services to address the problems of poverty. DevEng’s inaugural “Research in Action” speaker series explores current scientific and technological efforts to address global development issues, bringing experts together in an interdisciplinary space.
Read full article

Where Are They Now? Big Ideas Winners’ Innovations Take Off

Since its founding in 2006, the Big Ideas Contest has supported thousands of student-initiated ideas aimed at finding creative solutions that address important social challenges. For many of these teams, Big Ideas provides not only the initial funding and support necessary to launch their projects, but also the validation and confidence needed to take their innovations to the field.
Read full article

Twenty-eight Ambitious Changemakers from UC Berkeley Attend Clinton Global Initiative

From March 21-23, 2014, twenty-eight UC Berkeley student innovators headed to Arizona for the annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI-U) conference. The students, who were selected on the strength of their “Commitment to Action,” were eager to explore how they can make a difference in the world.
Read full article

Global Poverty & Practice Alumna Nikki Brand Returns to Community Development in Latin America

As a freshly-minted Cal grad starting her first job in rural Guatemala, Global Poverty & Practice (GPP) Minor alumna Nikki Brand stumbled into two old friends and realized that her UC Berkeley experiences had come full circle.
Read full article

Inter-American Development Bank and the Blum Center Co-host Discussion of Water Issues in Haiti

On March 10th, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), UC Berkeley’s Blum Center for Developing Economies, and the Berkeley Water Group hosted a screening of Water Everlasting?, a documentary produced by the IDB that details issues of poor water administration in Haiti. The screening was followed by a panel discussion led by IDB representatives from Haiti and water experts from the Blum Center, and gave rise to important dialogue regarding ways to address water issues in Haiti.
Read full article
 


 

Winter 2013

Blum Center Innovation Director Lina Nilsson Named Top Innovator Under 35

Dr. Lina Nilsson, Innovation Director at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, has been named one of this year’s Innovators Under 35 by the MIT Technology Review. For more than a decade, the global media company has recognized a list of exceptionally talented technologists whose work has great potential to transform the world.
Read full article

IdeaLabs Reach Across Disciplines to Solve Global Problems

IdeaLabs, a component of the Big Ideas@Berkeley program, are student-led hubs for discussion and idea-sharing around issues that are important to students—anything from climate change and health to safe water, nanotechnology, or household energy. The groups are multi-disciplinary gatherings of undergraduate and graduate students designed to bring out a range of viewpoints, ideas, and strategies.
Read full article

Blum Center’s Laura Stachel Named One of Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2013

Dr. Laura Stachel (MD, MPH), a researcher with the UC Berkeley Blum Center for Developing Economies, was named one of CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of 2013 for her work to bring life-saving “solar suitcases” to hospitals and clinics in developing countries. CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of 2013 recognizes everyday people who are changing the world. Each of the Top 10 CNN Heroes receives a $50,000 grant. Online voting for the “CNN Hero of the Year” ran from October 10 to November 17.
Read full article

Twitter and YouTube Bring Poverty Debates to Life Inside and Outside the Classroom

Dr. Ananya Roy’s animated voice resonates throughout Wheeler Auditorium as the projector displays a constant stream of tweets from students. A hand is raised on the left side of the lecture hall, then another on the right. Roy hastily walks around, making sure voices are heard. These are the sights and sounds of Roy’s class of 700 students on “Global Poverty: Challenges and Hopes in the New Millennium,” a core course in the Global Poverty and Practice Minor.
Read full article

Big Ideas Gets Bigger and Better in its Eighth Year

Big Ideas@Berkeley gives students the opportunity to channel their passion for social change into creative and pragmatic solutions. In addition to offering new categories, more workshops, and a broader pool of professional mentors, the 2013-14 contest offers a chance for applicants to compete with students across California and around the country. Find full contest details at bigideas.berkeley.edu.
Read full article
 


 

Summer 2013

2013 GPP graduates look to careers of social engagement

On May 23rd, sixty-nine students representing thirty majors accepted certificates in the Global Poverty and Practice (GPP) Minor from Professors Ananya Roy, Clare Talwalker, and Max Aufhammer, as well as Richard Blum, founder of the Blum Center for Developing Economies. Faculty and student speakers stressed the complexity of global challenges as well as the imperative of creatively combating those challenges each and everyday.
Read full article

GPP Students Set Out for Summer Practice Experiences

Each summer, Global Poverty and Practice students travel to communities all over the world to engage in poverty alleviation work. By giving students on-the-ground exposure to the complex challenges of poverty action, these ‘practice experiences’ put classroom learning into new perspective.  The Blum Center’s Student Fellowship program helps to fund a majority of these GPP students as they seek to collaborate with a variety of NGOs, government agencies, social movements, and businesses to turn their studies into tangible community work.
Read full article

Students Draw Inspiration, Lessons from Weekend at Clinton Global Initiative University

In early April, eighteen UC Berkeley students attended the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI-U) conference in St. Louis, Missouri, eager to make progress on their “commitments to action”—student-led projects which aim to tackle the most pressing challenges facing humanity. With $500,000 available for investment in student projects—in addition to funds and support from the institutions in the University Network—and an all-star line-up of key note speakers, this year’s event provided an unprecedented atmosphere of collaboration, innovation, and networking.
Read full article

UC Berkeley’s Development Impact Lab: “Greater than the Sum of Its Parts”

Brought together by the common goal of reinventing development practice, a seemingly unlikely group gathered at Blum Hall on the UC Berkeley campus in March 2013; guests came from labs 200 yards away, office buildings in the nearby Silicon Valley, the coastal campus of UC San Diego, and some from as far as the University of Michigan. During this one-day conference, the worldwide consortium of the Development Impact Lab (DIL) was launched with an exciting series of presentations, workshops and conversations.
Read full article

Generation Innovation: Rebecca Peters, 4th Generation Cal Student, 2013 Truman Scholar

Rebecca Peters, a Blum Center student and the fourth woman in her family to attend UC Berkeley, was recently named a 2013 Harry S.Truman Scholar. Sixty-two college juniors received the prestigious award on the basis of their academic achievements, leadership accomplishments, and their commitment to becoming a leader in public service. Peters reflects on her winding journey to the Truman Scholarship and her future beyond the Blum Center and UC Berkeley.
Read full article
 


 

Winter 2012

DOWNLOAD NEWSLETTER PDF

Across Institutions, Across Borders: Networks in Poverty Alleviation

On October 10th, the Blum Center received national attention: Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) ventured across the country to meet with the UC Berkeley community. The Blum Center was honored to host Director Shah, as he spent the day engaging with students, meeting faculty and board members, and learning about the latest initiatives in poverty alleviation
Read full article

Growing the Student Innovation Ecosystem: “Big Ideas in a Box”

More than 450 undergraduate and graduate students submitted proposals to one of the Big Ideas@Berkeley’s nine contest categories – representing the largest contest to date. With $300,000 in expected awards, winning proposals will receive the critical support and funding that could spread their idea and address social and global challenges.
Read full article

D-Lab: Designing Sustainable Low-Cost Energy Technologies for the Poor

Giving a man a fish is good. Teaching a man how to fish is better. Yet, fishing is useless without a river. According to Dr. Kurt Kornbluth, the history of development is filled with examples of good intentions with sufficient capital but insufficient preparatory research and little follow-up to devise the most sustainable solutions. To counter such well intentioned by uninformed development work, Kornbluth founded the D-Lab at the University of California, Davis, with support from the Blum Center for Developing Economies.
Read full article

Gram Power

Gram Power, a company incorporated in 2012 by campus graduates Yashraj Khaitan and Jacob Dickinson, is expanding its reach with help from the Blum Center and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The company’s mission is to provide affordable electricity to thousands of individuals who have restricted access to power in rural India.
Read full article

 


 

Fall 2012

DOWNLOAD NEWSLETTER PDF

GPP Student Researchers Among the New Generation of Poverty Scholars

This semester, the Blum Center for Developing Economies welcomed five students from the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) to assist Professor Ananya Roy and research fellow Emma Shaw Crane in the development of a book on the recently held Territories of Poverty conference.
Read full article

Visual Notetaking: A New Way to Learn in the GPP Minor

Abby Van Muijen discusses the Visual Notetaking DeCal and the ways in which this learned skill can improve the learning experience both in and outside of the classroom.
Read full article

Tweeting to the Masses: A New Podium for Global Poverty Discourse

How UC Berkeley professors, Ananya Roy and Tara Graham, are using social media in the classroom to help students become more engaged and foster a new academic community where all voices are heard.
Read full article

 


 

April 2012

DOWNLOAD NEWSLETTER PDF

The Growth of Green Innovation

Since it was established in 2006, the Blum Center has supported green innovation at UC Berkeley and around the world. Both the Big Ideas@Berkeley student competition and various faculty-led initiatives have produced projects that simultaneously improve the lives of individuals and benefit the environment.
Read full article

The Course That Innovates for the Public Good

On a rainy Wednesday evening, 23 UC Berkeley students from a broad range of disciplines gathered for class in a seminar room in the imposing University Hall—each taking a seat around a mysterious “Hello Kitty” stuffed doll. After a few minutes, the table was filled with seemingly unrelated products: cartoon toothpaste and toothbrush sets, a doggy-bag dispenser and a manicure set.
Read full article

Lumina: Enlightened Design for Brighter Outcomes

Nearly two centuries after Thomas Edison proclaimed that “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles,” 1.6 billion people continue to suffer from light poverty—more than the entire population of the world at the time of Edison’s breakthrough. Having to rely primarily on kerosene—and an odd mix of other sources, including candles, fish oil, yak butter, twigs, diesel fuel, and even footwear— people are constantly exposed to dangerous fumes and fire hazards which contribute to a panoply of health problems and climate change.
Read full article

Taking UC Berkeley Back to the 90s

UC Berkeley is traveling back in time. The campus is on track to reduce its carbon footprint to 1990 levels in two years, with the long-term goal of achieving carbon neutrality. The drive to accomplish this began in 2005 when a group of graduates, undergraduates and faculty members drafted a letter to the administration seeking to place a cap on campus carbon emissions. The administration replied with a challenge: to put together a practical, measurable feasibility plan.
Read full article


March 2012

DOWNLOAD NEWSLETTER PDF

A Letter from Ananya Roy

Ananya Roy, Education Director at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, talks about the importance of teaching students to address poverty and inequality.
Read full article

In IAS 120, Students of the GPP Minor Learn the Skills to Spread Global Awareness

Professor Graham’s course trains students in Berkeley’s Global Poverty and Practice minor to use the Internet and social media as tools for global engagement. The course is an all-in-one tool kit for global awareness. Last year, students received training in everything from film, photography and creative writing to web design.
Read full article

World Day of Social Justice

In 2007, the UN General Assembly declared February 20th of each year the “World Day of Social Justice,” to recognize groups around the world working to fight poverty and promote gender equality, access to health care and other initiatives that advance development and human dignity.
Read full article

Big Ideas @ Berkeley 2011 Spotlight: BareAbundance

Upon entering Berkeley’s all-you-can- eat dining halls, students undergo 
a strange biological transformation: their eyes seem to swell, far exceeding the size of their stomachs. Seven servings later, a tray full of half eaten entrées stares back at their defeated gazes before getting disposed of in the garbage. This propensity to waste is not limited to university dining halls.
Read full article

ECAR Safe Water Initiative: A New Solution to an Old Problem

Abandoned arsenic water filters 
litter the village of Amirabad, India. Arsenic- contaminated ground waters have created the largest mass poisoning in human history. In Bangladesh alone, 40 million people are exposed to arsenic through their tube wells. From Latin America to Asia, arsenic-laden water has plagued the lives of millions.
Read full article

Design for Sustainable Communities Course

Professor Addy also teaches a course at UC Berkeley, Design for Sustainable Communities. The class gives students hands-on experience in the design and implementation of projects meant to improve the sustainability of communities in developing countries.
Read full article


Fall 2009

DOWNLOAD NEWSLETTER PDF


Fall 2008

DOWNLOAD NEWSLETTER PDF