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Northwestern Hosts Global Inequality Workshop

National, international experts to address disparities in health, education
  • Leading social scientists meet to discuss global inequality
  • Event combines power of two of Northwestern’s leading research centers
  • Two-day workshop held May 12-13 on Evanston campus 

EVANSTON, Ill.  --- Inequality affects both developed and emerging nations, yet research on the problem seldom crosses academic disciplines, much less national or international borders. 

The Northwestern University Global Inequality Workshop seeks to address this gap by bringing together some of the world’s leading social scientists for in-depth, interdisciplinary discussions on key issues and new forms of inequality. 

Jointly organized by two of Northwestern’s leading research institutes, the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) and the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies, the May 12-13 workshop in Evanston assembles nearly 30 leading experts on domestic and global policies from both institutes, as well as leading U.S. and international scholars. 

The event is made possible in part through the generosity of alumna Roberta Buffett Elliott ’54 who made a gift of more than $100 million to Northwestern in January 2015, marking the largest single gift to the University to date. 

Experts were invited to the workshop from a variety of institutions including National University of Singapore, Institut Sciences Po in Paris, Denmark’s Aarhus University, as well as Harvard, Michigan and other U.S. schools. 

The small workshop setting is designed to help advance cutting-edge scholarship on inequality in health, education and organizations, in addition to highlighting global trends and research methods.

The event also gives IPR and the Buffett Institute a chance to develop strategic partnerships that will enhance and expand Northwestern’s research community with U.S. and international scientists.

“Our twin goals for this workshop are to stimulate new collaborations between faculty affiliated with the Buffett Institute and IPR and forge new connections between Northwestern experts and those from around the world,” said IPR Director David Figlio, faculty fellow and the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy. 

Since both the Buffett Institute and IPR support collaborative research, the partnership is a natural one, said Buffett Institute Director Bruce Carruthers.

The Buffett Institute has long been interested in a range of global issues, but historically has not concentrated on social policy questions. Meanwhile, IPR has traditionally focused on social issues that directly concern Washington, but not necessarily those relevant to Paris, Canberra or Nairobi.

“Global inequality is a place where the Buffett Institute’s traditional research interests intersect perfectly with those of IPR,” Carruthers said. “The workshop will allow us to join an important and ongoing international conversation that’s undeniably relevant across the globe.”