Around the World and Back—to Columbia
Obviously, having grown up in the neighborhood, Columbia was always a presence. It’s such an integral part of the Upper West Side; I remember as a kid going to the bookstores up here, and the bars up here, and knowing people from here.
I worked overseas as a journalist for ten years—I was in Vietnam for two years, Amsterdam for three years, Turkey for a year and a half—and when I came back it was to do a fellowship at Columbia. I guess I liked it so much I never really left! I went back into journalism, and ended up back at Columbia. So coming here really changed my life.
Part of how Columbia changed my life was that it opened up a whole new world for me, which was teaching. It’s also given me a huge community, with lots of friends, ideas, and stimulus. I’ve ended up with a huge network of former students that I still write with, that I still see, that I still talk to, that have become friends. So in a way, Columbia has become a family.
I interviewed my husband [economist and SIPA professor Joseph Stiglitz] for a homework assignment! That’s how I met him. I was a Knight-Bagehot Fellow at Columbia, and it was for the Reuters Forum. I was writing something on capital controls. He was on leave from Stanford and then went back to Stanford, but I didn’t want to live in California, so I persuaded him to come to New York. Columbia was great and super welcoming, and he’s so glad that he came.
Whenever we travel around the world, we see Columbia students. We just had a mini-reunion in Saudi Arabia In January. I’ve lunched with Columbia students in—gosh—Mauritius, Paraguay, Mongolia, London, Madrid, Paris, Tunisia, all kinds of places. I was once in Aleppo and I ran into a bunch of Columbia people. It’s a vast network of people, all of whom are really interested in the same thing, which is ideas and learning and finding out new things.