On 4-5 December 2015, a group of LSE MPA students attended the annual Global Public Policy Network Conference (GPPN) in São Paulo, Brazil, hosted by Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV). It was the last weekend before the end of the Michaelmas Term. This meant we would spend a whirlwind 48 hours in Brazil only to return to London for a week of teaching before leaving for Christmas vacation. What made the conference worth the long trip?
Firstly, it was a learning opportunity. The GPPN is an academic conference that requires participants to write 7,000 word papers on their chosen subjects. If your submitted abstract was accepted, you were invited to present the paper during the conference. The main theme of the conference was “public challenges facing global cities” with three sub-themes:
bringing IT into government
improving metropolitan governance
My group chose to write about bringing IT into government, focusing on how data generated by citizens in their daily Internet usage can be used as evidence for cities to create more efficient and responsive policies. We heard from ten groups of presenters in the IT sub-theme, with subjects ranging from the use of big and open data by governments; the impact of social media in Chinese public affairs; and the development of the Aadhaar biometric identification system in India...