A Busy Week - Click on any of the photos for a FULL SIZE version.

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It was a very busy week at Columbia... kicked off with Jeff Sachs and John Legend teaming up for the "Show Me" poverty action tour on Monday night.

Somewhat inspired by my first assignment making the front of last Friday's paper, I took all my photographic equipment to the event and snap snap snapped away. This is John Legend, having a quiet moment to himself just before the doors of the auditorium were thrown open to the general public.

And the Sachs man himself arrives on the scene... and was good enough to do a little round of all the tables and have a brief chat with everyone there.

Entry to the event was by online registration. Registration filled up within about 20 minutes of it being opened... so there was a standby queue. I've never known an event to get the message out about ending poverty... featuring one musican and an economics professor... having a standby queue.

I have never heard a crowd cheer so loudly for a university professor... it almost makes me want to be an academic. Jeff said many things... among my favourites was his suggestion that the Pentagon takes Thursday off... which would provide enough money to buy everyone in sub-saharan Africa a bed net to fend off malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. See that face? I have to put up with that between the hours of 11am and 1pm every Monday and Wednesday... I don't know how he does it.

....but the real treat of the night was that they opened it up to questions from the audience.

...and some audience members had some pretty pressing questions to ask.

Between Jeff and John, I think they answered the questions pretty well... I mean, c'mon, Jeff's a freak. Tenured professor at Harvard at age 28... that's crazy. It shows - he really knows his stuff inside-out and back-to-front.

Another treat - John Legend played a few songs...

He ain't bad at playing that piano, nor is he a slouch when it comes to singing... I guess those grammy award awarders know what they're doing.

After the event itself, the crowd spilled out of Roone Arledge Auditorium and... into the tabling area... where there was an amnesty table.

On Tuesday, we had the anti-Sachs event with some critical perspectives.

One of the speakers, and the main drawcard, was Mary Robinson - former president of Ireland, former United Nations High Commisioner for Human Rights and now the Executive Director of the Ethical Globalization Initiative... phwoar...

But she wasn't the only one who had something to say... there were some deep criticisms of the aid industry and the framework of capitalism in general.

...although they did go a bit over time, many people still stayed afterwards to ask questions of the speakers... who were only too happy to answer (the ones who didn't have to leave early anyway).

Wednesday started very early for me... a public meeting in Harlem concerning the 125th Street rezoning proposal. I was only able to stay for a short while, but I did manage to snap this shot... which made the papers the next day.

A rather smaller event, early on Wednesday night... a small tabling and speaking gig featuring a rather diverse group of presenters.

Geoff Aung tells us about his experiences in Mongolia and how he crossed paths with the Milennium Road.

The big event of Wednesday though was later in the night when a panel convened to present on "How the Nobel was won" - they were referring, of course, to the Nobel Peace Prize which was awarded to Al Gore and the IPCC. This event was so important that Columbia University President Lee Bollinger (or PrezBo, as we like to call him) came to introduce the speakers. Here he is having a friendly chat with everyone's favourite Nobel Laureate - Joseph Stiglitz.

Also on the panel - R. K. Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, James Hansen, and Cynthia Rosenzweig - two scientists who were prominent on the IPCC (the IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

It was almost more interesting observing the expressions on the other panel members while someone else was speaking.

Though not quite packed to the rafters... the place was still pretty full.

The Stiggmeister himself told a few jokes... two planets meet each other in the course of their travels around the cosmos and one says to the other "hey, I've got this problem", "oh yeah, what's the problem?", "Oh, humans", "don't worry, it won't last long". Ha Ha Ha!

I guess winning a Nobel in economics must make you good at telling jokes... John Nash is also allegedly meant to have a very well-developed sense of humour.


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