Events

The Forum at Columbia University

Upcoming Events

Jack Lew and Raghuram Rajan on Politics and Public Institutions

January 30 (6:30pm - 8:00pm); Joseph D. Jamail Lecture Hall, Columbia Journalism School. Register with Eventbrite here.

This event will be livestreamed to our YouTube channel.

Columbia World Projects will host a public conversation between Secretary Jack Lew, the 76th Secretary of the Treasury, and Dr. Raghuram Rajan, the 23rd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. In an era of democratic crisis, political interests are weakening political institutions by changing the rules that govern them, bolstering efforts to undermine them, and disregarding longstanding practices and norms. In response to these instances of institutional weakening, Secretary Lew and Dr. Rajan will offer their reflections on the role of independent monetary institutions in liberal democracies, the increasing pressures to which these institutions and their administrators are subject, and potential avenues to strengthening them. Their discussion and the Q&A session that follows it will be moderated by Shailagh Murray, current Executive Vice President for Public Affairs at Columbia and former Senior Advisor to President Obama.

Check-in will begin 45 minutes prior to start time. Doors will open one half hour prior to start time. Seating is limited and first come, first served. Advance registration does not guarantee seating; early arrival is suggested.

Past Events

Renzo Piano on Designing an Inclusive City

This event was held on December 11, 2019. A recording of the event is available here.

Renzo Piano, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect behind the first new buildings on Columbia’s Manhattanville campus, will reflect on the role of architecture in creating more inclusive cities. Speaking at the Forum, one of his three Manhattanville buildings, he will discuss how architecture can create more open, permeable neighborhoods, provide arenas for cross-cutting exchanges and opportunities, and enrich civic life. Offering contemplations on democracy and participation alongside examples of his work, Piano will discuss how architecture can address particular needs, while also pointing toward models of thinking and doing that are more generalizable and dynamic. Amale Andraos, the Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, will introduce the event, which will include a presentation by Piano, a discussion between Piano and Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, and an audience Q&A.

This event is co-presented with the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and the School of the Arts.

Lessons from Rebuild by Design with Shaun Donovan and Kate Orff

This event was held on September 17th, 2019. A recording of the event is available here.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Obama administration launched Rebuild by Design, an innovative design and planning competition for projects that promote resilience in the face of climate change. This event brings together two people closely involved in this effort — Shaun Donovan, the former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; and Kate Orff, an Associate Professor at Columbia GSAPP, the Director of GSAPP’s Urban Design Program, and the founder of SCAPE studio. They will discuss how we might design successful, inclusive urban planning interventions in an era of climate crisis.

Sir David Adjaye OBE: On Urban Ethics

Followed by conversation with Dean Amale Andraos and Thelma Golden

This event was held on November 7th, 2019.

Co-presented with the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation and the School of the Arts


Adjaye, the award-winning architect and lead designer of the National Museum of African American History and Culture will give a lecture about how art, architecture and design can promote more ethically-minded cities. Following the talk, Adjaye will speak in conversation with Amale Andraos, Dean of Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, and Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem. With reflections on Adjaye’s own work, including the forthcoming new facility at the Studio Museum, they will discuss how socially-minded architecture in urban centers can draw together and lift up communities, encourage exchange and prompt recognition of underheard voices. This conversation will explore how architecture can promote inclusive, dignified outcomes, especially for cities’ most vulnerable communities.