Students Tackle Public Finance Challenges at Economic Democracy Initiative Workshop

July 22, 2022

Fresh off completing their final exams and wrapping up a busy semester, fifty students from around the world gathered at Bard College’s campus in New York June 6-10, 2022 for the inaugural OSUN Economic Democracy Initiative’s Summer Workshop in Public Finance and Economic Policy.

Hailing from twenty countries and five continents, the students joined a distinguished  group of international faculty for an intensive week of seminars, lectures, and interactive sessions to study new approaches for tackling some of today’s most urgent challenges, including inequality, unemployment, and poverty.

Over the course of the workshop, students developed an understanding of public finance by examining country-specific financial arrangements, monetary regimes, the spectrum of monetary sovereignty, and the crucial role of food and energy security in achieving core public policy objectives.

Students also worked in groups to apply the concrete analytical tools they learned at the workshop to understanding the role of fiscal policy, the available policy space, and the barriers and opportunities for more widespread economic prosperity. Students examined the cases of Australia, Brazil, India, Nigeria, Spain, and Turkey, to name a few, and presented their findings to the group. They considered how different countries can mobilize their financial and real resources to meet these goals, using the theoretical approaches and practical tools they learned earlier in the workshop. The intensive curriculum was supplemented with live music performances, a barbeque dinner, and a trip to the nearby home and library of former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

OSUN institutions were heavily represented. Students from Al-Quds Bard, American University of Central Asia, Ashesi University, Bard College Berlin, Central European University, and SOAS all traveled to Bard College for the inaugural OSUN-EDI Summer Workshop. The diversity of backgrounds and perspectives present among workshop attendees made for a singular event and deepened the learning process for all involved.

Of the seven students who attended from Al Quds Bard, one of them, Nihal Almasri, remarked that the workshop "allowed us to think about the role of different governments when the country faces crises and challenges, such as COVID and climate change, and what policies should be considered to remedy these crises, taking into account the actual or financial constraints these governments face. The other topics discussed, such as monetary sovereignty, sectoral balances, government spending and taxes, full employment, and job security, allowed us to develop a new framework for thinking about economic stabilization, full employment, and poverty alleviation."

CEU is an OSUN partner and undergraduate students are able participate in OSUN events, including workshops, courses and exchanges at other OSUN partner universities. The OSUN Economic Democracy Initiative is already planning the 2023 Summer Workshop.