Norman Macrae -The Economist pro-youth economist -bravo sir fazle abed & jack ma
sir kenneth was a sincere scot whose family tree had served the raj (eg kemps corner in mumbai is named after pharmacists in our family) ; both sir ken and mahatma were alumni of the bar of london; there wasnt much open space in the pre-war raj; sir ken's jobs ranged from debating and jailing gandhi to writing up the legalese of india's independence with him
world record job creator harrison owen invented www.openpaceworld.com as a better way of mediating up to 5000 argumentative brains at the same time
one of his youngest chinese alumni writes about the stories that empower her hosting even when she is asked to do it in strange spaces like new york
who else can join in open spacing 43 weeks to wise@UNGA
From the time I was born and my family was fined for violating China’s one-child policy, to when our village was washed away by the 1998 China flood, to the time I was working in a “sweatshop” in Shanghai, I have overcome many challenging obstacles unique among my university classmates in China and my work colleagues here in the United States.
These challenges have created in me an intense desire to help others who face similar difficulties. My approach to this has shifted and expanded over time: from deciding to study bioengineering in college with an aim to improve the health and food security of my community; to serving as a mentor and teacher at an education consulting firm; to my current work in supporting the development of social enterprises and promoting collaboration among the public, private and social sectors through the Norman Macrae Foundation.
My desire to study Global Affairs began when I took an Online Course titled “How to Change the World,” which covered poverty and development, climate change and sustainability, disease and global health, and women, education and social change. This course exposed me to a wide range of global problems. Moreover, though, it allowed me to connect with hundreds of people globally who discussed on the course website’s discussion forums their experiences and passions pertaining to social change.
The most inspiring and fruitful contact I made was with my current employer and mentor, Christopher Macrae, a mathematician and innovation adviser for global branding. Everything Mr. Macrae shared with me (his experiences with the World Bank, with the Nobel Laureate and Grameen Bank founder, Muhammad Yunus, etc.), ignited my desire to learn more and become involved in his work in evaluating community impacts and social value.
After graduating from Hebei University of Science and Technology, Mr. Macrae invited me to work for him in the United States, mapping how companies and organizations can transparently value intangibles, and conducting research on and outreach to job creators worldwide. Through this position, I went to the United States, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates and China for forums, conferences, meetings, and field investigations. Under Mr. Macrae’s mentorship, I coordinated and catalyzed actions in the areas of education, gender, poverty, and aging. We interviewed entrepreneurs, politicians, and scholars from across the globe and coordinated meetings that brought experts together to collaborate in tackling common problems.
One combination of initiatives in particular stood out to me as the kind of work I hope to prepare for and pursue with a Master’s in Global Affairs from Yale. For the first initiative, in April, we traveled to Dhaka, where BRAC (Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee – the world’s largest non-governmental organization) is headquartered. There, we interviewed Sir Fazle Abed, founder of BRAC, and his son Shameran Abed, the Director of BRAC’s Microfinance program. What I saw in this city overwhelmed me: kids playing in landfills, women working in slums and disabled beggars knocking on the windows of cars during traffic jams. The standards of living in Bangladesh were far worse than anything I had seen, even in my rural hometown. Amidst extreme conditions, BRAC has done tremendous work combating poverty, illiteracy, and disease, with a range of programs including Microfinance services, BRAC University, and seed enterprises tailored to specific subsets of the population.
Later, in July this year, I organized two field trips to China for Mr. Macrae, arranging in meetings with high level people such as Qinghua Song, special expert in the Chinese Environmental Protection Agency; Ying Lowery, Professor of Economics at Tsinghua University and researcher for Alibaba; Serve for China practitioner Yuxuan Chen; and representatives from the WISE Education Summit in Beijing. In addition to these meetings, I put into practice my knowledge of American, British and Chinese customs to ensure Mr. Macrae had productive meetings at small schools and incubators throughout China.
Ying Lowery’s research on E-commerce (particularly, Alibaba’s “Taobao Village” program) stood out to me the most during this meeting. She described Alibaba’s launch of a “thousand-county and thousands-village” program, putting 10 billion Yuan (US$1.6 billion) to build an E-commerce system in 1,000 counties and 100,000 villages. According to her research, the success of E-commence in rural areas might be the next tipping point for Chinese economic growth.
During our discussions with Professor Lowery, I recalled that Sir Fazle Abed had expressed interest in the rapid development China has undergone in the last 20 years. I realized the Taobao village model could be a means of stimulating private enterprise at the village level in other countries, augmenting the approach of larger, more established institutions like BRAC. Conversely, I realized that the model of institutional support that BRAC provides in Bangladesh could translate well to Chinese villages. So I wrote two reports to exchange information: one to Sir Fazle Abed, the other to Professor Ying Lowery. In doing so, we successfully connected BRAC and Taobao Village for further collaboration.
Not wanting others to face the same kinds of struggles I have faced, I now feel that I particularly want to improve conditions for populations who are being challenged by poor working conditions, climate disasters or underfunded schools in developing countries. I would hope to be a more qualified candidate to pursue careers in, for example, the Taobao village project in China to take targeted measures in poverty alleviation. My experience interviewing and connecting global leaders and experts, beyond geographical and occupational boundaries, showed me a means by which I can help make contributions to solving these issues. Most of these challenges, however, have a political and economic dimension that cannot be disregarded. It is my desire to therefore fill these knowledge gaps in the areas of public policy and foreign affairs to catapult my career in the area of international development through the Master’s in Global Affairs program at Yale.