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CIPS Launches Research Unit on Social Justice


Fordham’s Center for International Policy Studies (CIPS) has launched a research unit to help promote social justice in developing and developed nations around the world.

Nancy Busch, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the University’s chief research officer, announced the launch of the Research Unit on Social Justice and Policy on Feb. 18 at a joint Fordham/UNICEF conference on global economic recovery, held on the Lincoln Center campus. The unit’s purpose, she said, will be to do research by Fordham faculty on social justice and policy issues, to be used by social justice organizations around the globe to develop effective programming.

“This unit will bring together social scientists, lawyers and managers to focus on these important issues,” Busch said.

Sophie Mitra, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics and director of the new unit, said that the research will be focused on disadvantaged groups, poverty and program evaluation, and that it will be multidisciplinary.

“Research will be applied and action-oriented,” said Mitra. “It will be driven by challenges in the field and will seek to inform decisions and provide recommendations for policy.”

Isabel Ortiz, UNICEF’s associate director of policy and practice, opened the two-day policy forum by saying that new policy initiatives were critical because the recent economic crisis has led to deeper poverty among the world’s poor and vulnerable populations.

“The 21st century marks a sad milestone in the history of humanity, in which a billion people today are starving,” said Ortiz, “and there are no easy years ahead.”

In an overall pyramid of worldwide economic recovery funding, said Ortiz, some 80 percent of money went to bank bailouts in higher-income nations; another large percentage went to stimulus plans in higher-income economies and just a fraction of money went to developing countries.

Ortiz said that nations had to retool budget expenditures to provide immediate support to women and children, the most vulnerable groups, but that pro-poor expenditures needed to be more than just “temporary safety nets” if there is to be an economic recovery with a human face.


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