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Lucy Fallon-Byrne - I'll go home with a different perspective
Lucy Fallon-Byrne at the sixth meeting of the Public Sector Strategy Round Table
Lucy Fallon-Byrne - I'll go home with a different perspective
Nicole Bogart and Oscar Tollast 

In her words, Lucy Fallon-Byrne has an “exciting” but “demanding” job. She is leading public service reform in Ireland, serving as the assistant secretary of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and program director of the Reform and Delivery Office. After attending the sixth meeting of the Public Sector Strategy Round Table - In the Spotlight: How Can the Public Sector Excel Under Changing Dynamics? - Fallon-Byrne said she would leave with a number of takeaways, each of which would have an effect on the work that takes place in her day-to-day life.

This work involves a new phase of public service reform, which is currently being rolled out in Ireland. Previous reform programs have had various degrees of success, but the latest program comes at a time of stability. Discussing the latest reform, Fallon-Byrne said, “It’s more developmental. It’s more focusing on innovation and matching the prolific changes that are happening in the environment. Our big challenges are getting traction for public service reform in a time of relative calm and relative economic stability, as opposed to [what we experienced] in 2011.”

Fallon-Byrne said Ireland is focused on “being strategic” in the face of Brexit and any other threat it may face. This includes being positioned well to take advantage of technological revolutions. Commenting on this further, she said, “We’re also focusing very, very strongly on new forms of delivery - digital delivery, business process automation - and much more use of technology and less use of routine repetitive tasks, changing the market force.”

Analyzing her platform for the new wave of public service reform, Fallon-Byrne said they were talking about building robust organizations. She said, “Underpinning principles would be that we link reform to expenditure, that we have very good and strong governance structures in place so that it does get traction and it is well governed. These are very important principles underpinning this wave of reform that possibly weren’t articulated as strongly in the past.”

On the problems facing the public sector, Fallon-Byrne doesn’t believe they’re unique to Ireland and while there are differences between cultures and jurisdictions, the problems faced around the world are “very common.” She said, “We are all moving toward much more online service delivery and we’re dealing with the difficulties that faces.

“We’re also dealing with a lot of data and we’re trying to use the data as an enabler of change, and an enabler of good governance, but we have difficulties in terms of data protection. We face very similar challenges in strategic workforce planning because we’re all an aging demographic and in our civil service and public services the age profile is very challenging. We face similar challenges and then we face similar unique political challenges based on the different political configurations in different countries.”

The two-day program at Schloss Leopoldskron provided Fallon-Byrne with a new way of thinking. She said, “I really, really found the last two days very, very helpful for me because I think I’ll go home now with a different perspective.” Adding to this, Fallon-Byrne said while she was aware Ireland was well-positioned in terms of the technological revolution, it was “off the mark” in other areas. She said, “I think we have a good bit to go in really grappling with the changes that I experienced here and the presentations from others. The scale of that challenge is bigger than I thought coming here.”

In addition to this takeaway, Fallon-Byrne was also reminded of the negative thinking which can exist around the public sector and people’s views of government. She said, “There’s this cynicism about government and about public service, and I think that’s an important piece I think I can learn from the Seminar here. I think others are facing the same challenges, and maybe together we have to do something about that.” Fallon-Byrne also confirmed the anecdotes and experiences shared by her fellow participants would help her to “crystallize” the program she’s preparing at home, helping her to be more attuned to what works and what doesn’t work.

By having a diverse group of people from different backgrounds and political systems, Fallon-Byrne said this had created a good network of individuals to reach out to. She said, “It just is great to get that affirmation and get that sense we are all facing similar problems, and we are all facing many, many, big, big challenges. We are all grappling with them in a similar way. I think there’s a great cohesion and a great sense of solidarity, as Clare [Shine] said, in the group, and I would value that. I have shared quite a lot of my contacts with a lot of people here and we’ll hopefully keep those contacts going.”


Lucy Fallon-Byrne attended the sixth meeting of the Public Sector Strategy Round Table – “In the Spotlight: How Can the Public Sector Excel Under Changing Dynamics?”. This meeting was convened by Salzburg Global Seminar in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court and apolitical, and with the support of Chatham House. More information on the session can be found here.

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Julian McCrae - Strategy units require people who can look at problems from new dimensions
Julian McCrae in conversation on the Schloss Terrace during the sixth Public Sector Strategy Round Table
Julian McCrae - Strategy units require people who can look at problems from new dimensions
Oscar Tollast 

As deputy director of the Institute for Government in London, Julian McCrae has one main question to answer: How do you help politicians and civil servants in the UK get better at doing their jobs? It’s not the only conundrum he’s looking to solve, but it encompasses the path the Institute is following.

In a bid to get answers to this question, and more, McCrae attended the sixth Public Sector Strategy Round Table – In the Spotlight: How Can the Public Sector Excel Under Changing Dynamics? – in June.

Speaking to Salzburg Global Seminar during this session, McCrae said, “This is a brilliant opportunity to meet people from all around the world who are thinking about how do you improve? How do you make government work more effectively for its citizens? What it’s really about – not just people thinking about it, but people who are actually doing it.”

McCrae was one of 28 participants to take part in the two-day program, held by Salzburg Global Seminar for the first time this year. Together, the cohort represented 15 countries. McCrae said, “There’s nothing better than listening and talking to people who are facing the same challenges as you are in different environments; bringing that all together, aggregating it up, and getting a real sense of momentum into some of the key challenges all our societies face.”

Among the challenges discussed, McCrae suggested the changing nature of technology was both an opportunity and a threat. That being said, the issue of resources and how to use them is also pertinent. McCrae said, “How do we make [the use of resources] work in a way that our citizens feel this is fair [and] this is equitable?”

Before joining the independent non-profit organization, the Institute for Government, McCrae spent half a decade working for former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, serving as deputy director in his strategy unit. Discussing his experience, McCrae said, “I think one of the things about working in a strategy unit at the heart of government, it’s in a way about great analysis. It’s about really, really good people who can look at a problem from new dimensions and give insight to that.”

The next step requires effective communication of the insight that has been acquired. McCrae said one had to think how to get the relevant information in the hands of the decision-makers. He said, “When we were working in the UK, and we had Tony Blair as the prime minister, he wanted strategic advice. He saw us as his people… He’d set us a problem and he didn’t want us drawn into the day-to-day crises of government.” Instead, Blair wanted McCrae and his colleagues to think about the long-term solutions. McCrae, however, conceded that each prime minister is different in their way of thinking.

McCrae joined the Institute for Government in 2009. He is currently responsible for leading the Institute’s work on professionalizing Whitehall, the performance of public services, fiscal policy, and spending consolidations. McCrae said, “We’re focused primarily on what we might describe as the machine of government. We’re not a policy think-tank. We don’t tell governments [they] should be this, or that, or the other. We’re certainly not political. We have to stay out of the party politics. What we’re about saying is, ‘If you want to achieve these things, how can you set up government [and] how can you run a government in a better way to make it more likely that these things you really want to do will be achieved?’”

The two-day program at Salzburg Global Seminar brought forward several ideas and examples of good practice taking place around the world. McCrae said he hoped to leave with a set of concrete ideas he could point to and show others. Most of all, he was interested in the personal connections.

McCrae said, “Virtually, no one has a wonderful experience with change. It’s difficult. It’s messy. You have to persevere at it. So, actually, being able to pick up the conversations about how you deal with the difficulties [and] how you overcome it – that comes from knowing people.

“That’s what I think Salzburg Global Seminar is really about – bringing those ideas together, bringing those people together, to create that shared network going forward.”


Julian McCrae attended the sixth meeting of the Public Sector Strategy Round Table – “In the Spotlight: How Can the Public Sector Excel Under Changing Dynamics?”. This meeting was convened by Salzburg Global Seminar in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court and apolitical, and with the support of Chatham House. More information on the session can be found here.

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Life and Justice in America - Implications of the New Administration
Life and Justice in America - Implications of the New Administration
Salzburg Global Seminar 

If you search for the definition of “the American Dream” online, you’ll find several interpretations. Merriam-Webster defines the concept as “a happy way of living that is thought of by many Americans as something that can be achieved by anyone in the U.S. especially by working hard and becoming successful.” Collins Dictionary, meanwhile, says the dream is “the notion that the American social, economic, and political system makes success possible for every individual.” In these definitions, we can see a different emphasis placed on the role of the individual and the role of the structures in place in obtaining success. 

This question of what “the American Dream” means in today’s world will be among the topics discussed at the 15th Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association (SSASA) symposium – Life and Justice in America: Implications of the New Administration – which begins on Friday.

Just over 40 participants from more than 20 countries will convene at Schloss Leopoldskron, in Salzburg, Austria for the five-day program. Attendees include academics teaching about the United States in universities across the world, sociologists, representatives from the legal profession, and individuals working at protecting and improving contemporary life in America.

Together, this group of participants will explore historic events related to social progress and literary reflections of the nature and quality of life and justice in America. They will also examine the function of legal and political institutions at federal, state, and local levels alongside qualitative dimensions of family, social and personal lives to better understand changing patterns and risks to the social fabric.

Participants will consider such issues as: economic equality and the distribution of wealth as it relates to race and gender; the management of policing and civil rights; fair application of legal protection; availability of employment and equal opportunity; and other prevalent matters.

The session format will include daily thematic presentations by distinguished speakers, which will be followed by plenary discussions, as well as panels on topical issues. The aim of the session is to compare the historic “Promise of America” with today’s realities and influence projects which help toward realizing a good life for all in America.

Marty Gecek, SSASA progam director, said, “The topic has particular resonance in the year of a new U.S. presidential administration. Drawing on 70 years of cross-border exchange that began at Schloss Leopoldskron in 1947 in the aftermath of the war, this multi-disciplinary conversation will examine what the “American Dream” means in today’s world, and will assess progress in the United States toward fulfilling that potential. Participants will discuss the quality of life and sense of justice in the United States from a contemporary perspective, including the domestic and global implications of the new administration in a visibly polarized society.”


The Salzburg Global program Life and Justice in America: Implications of the New Administration is part of Salzburg Global’s multi-year series Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association (SSASA). More information on the session can be found here. You can follow all of the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SSASA.

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Finding good people to do good work for the greater good
Session 581
Finding good people to do good work for the greater good
Louise Hallman 

The corporate sector puts great emphasis on hiring “the best of the best.” With the increasing importance of private philanthropy in the wake of public sector austerity and growing global challenges, how can we attract top talent to the philanthropy sector – one known for its altruism, not huge salaries?

The challenge of hiring good people to do good work for the benefit of the greater good is the focus of Session 581 - Driving the Change: Global Talent Management for Effective Philanthropy. After a keynote speech, panels and working groups, participants came away with key insights.

Identify motivation

Etymologically, philanthropy means “love of humankind,” and certainly this seems to be primary motivation for many in the room at Schloss Leopoldskron to have sought (or in some cases, unexpectedly found) careers in the sector. Some have come to the field from elsewhere, having worked in human resources in the corporate or academic sector. Some are drawn to the sector as a whole, others are motivated by specific causes, be that the environment, public health or women’s rights. Understanding motivations for working in our sector can help us be better recruiters.

Develop a positive workplace culture

Those who share the same motivations and values as their colleagues and the organization as a whole are likely to perform better in their role – a key component in developing a strong workplace culture.

Other components of a workplace culture include the organization’s structure, policies and procedures, communications style, technology use, dress code and the physical environment.

“A clearly articulated and authentically realized culture will ensure alignment of mission, values, practice and people.”

Developing a culture that is both inclusive and diverse can be a challenge, especially in organizations that are multi-cultural, multi-generational, and multi-location. Get it right though and it can pay dividends – building a positive workplace culture and hiring people who fit into it can help productivity, morale and retention of the best talent.

Introduce flexibility

One distinct example of work culture that was shared in Salzburg was one of great flexibility: no fixed working hours, no fixed working place, and unlimited annual leave. “Until I worked in a flexible workplace, I never realized how much I would value it.

Now I couldn’t imagine working anyway else,” remarked the speaker introducing the idea. This culture “treats employees as adults with lives,” allowing people to work around their lives, in hours that suit them and their families.

“We get more out of people who want to give more.”

However, this isn’t for everyone, the speaker admitted. Introducing a culture like this without having laid the groundwork by building a high degree of trust between employers and employees would likely fail.

Employers need to trust that the work will be done without imposing fixed working hours and employees need to trust that they won’t be so overworked that they will work all the time and never take any annual leave.

Assess character, not just skills 

“Hire for the characteristics you want, not just the skills,” was one piece of advice. The characteristics desired will be driven in part by the culture and strategy of the organization. In one case study presented in Salzburg, for a Brazilian foundation, which was wanting to expand ambitiously and rapidly, hiring young people who were also ambitious and eager for societal change was key. Why young?

“Young people are more open change,” and an organization going through rapid growth will need to change and adapt accordingly. These new people were then included in helping to develop the newly expanded organization’s culture – which, although put them at odds with longer-serving employees, placed the organization on the stronger footing to meet its strategic goals.

Attract Millennials

Young people (a.k.a. Millennials, born approximately between the nearly 1980s and the early 2000s) are commonly thought of to be seeking purpose, highly values-driven, eager for social change and justice, an embracing of innovation, inclusivity and diversity. This should make them a perfect fit for the philanthropic sector. And they can be – but they can also be demanding. 

Talk your talk, walk your walk and embrace diversity

Many Fellows in Salzburg remarked that Millennials frequently put pressure on their employers to include them in decision-making, preferring horizontal to hierarchical structures, and for them to “walk their walk,” said one participant.

If your organization’s programs espouse values such as diversity, inclusivity and transparency, you must be willing to ensure your organization, work culture and employees also live up to these values.

Diversity in the workplace brings diversity of experiences and ideas – hugely important if we’re to meet the world’s challenges.

Have courage

We live in challenging times – from political polarization and unrest to persistent social inequality and climate change – and philanthropy has an important role to play in helping the world address these challenges. To do that, philanthropy needs to be bold – both in our program delivery and in hiring the people to deliver those programs. Is philanthropy a sector, a field, an industry or a movement? If we’re to be a movement – encouraging collaboration across organizations and interest groups – then we not only need leaders to start the movement, but also brave first followers who can then encourage more followers to help build momentum and drive us forward.


The Salzburg Global program Driving the Change: Global Talent Management for Effective Philanthropy is part of Salzburg Global’s longstanding series Optimizing Institutional Philanthropy. It is being held in partnership with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Zeshan Foundation. More information on the session can be found here. You can follow all of the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSphil.

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Andrés Thompson - “I think I’ve played a role in advancing philanthropy in Latin America"
Andrés Thompson
Andrés Thompson - “I think I’ve played a role in advancing philanthropy in Latin America"
Mirva Villa 

Activist, thinker, teacher, dispruter, maybe even an influencer – during his career in the philanthropic sector, spanning over four decades, Andrés Thompson has played many roles.

Starting at the age of 17 as an activist, Thompson’s lifelong passion on improving the life of people around him has showed him the world of big foundations and grassroots movements.

“I think I’ve played a role in advancing philanthropy in Latin America,” Thompson says modestly, and that includes both his professional and personal commitments to the social issues in the area. One of his proudest moments includes encouraging a group of young people to put pressure on their local government in Brazil.

Thompson is the keynote speaker for the Salzburg Global Seminar session on Driving the Change: Global Talent Management for Effective Philanthropy, but it’s not his first time in Salzburg. He has shared his expertise as a resource specialist for several other Salzburg Global Seminar sessions, but his own journey with the organization began over twenty years ago as a participant. On the appeal of the sessions, Thompson says:

“You don’t have to play a role here. You have to reflect, think and share: that’s the essence. It’s not a conference – it’s a session, a conversation over beers.” Many things might have changed since the first time Thompson came to Schloss Leopoldskron, but the spirit has remained the same: “The heart of Salzburg Seminar is the same one.” 

In fact, it was Session 304 - Non-Profit, NGO Sector: Individuals, Organizations, Democratic Societies - in 1993 that gave Thompson a new direction for his work in philanthropy. Previously, he hadn’t considered his work in philanthropy as a “career”. At the Salzburg Seminar (as the organization was then known), he met representatives of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and caught their interest with his new, disruptive ideas. 

“The fact that they invited me to join the Kellogg Foundation, to learn about how a big foundation works and have the opportunity to have the money be on this side of the table… and invest that money for things I considered important – it was a great opportunity,” he says.

In addition to his work for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Thompson has worked for the non-profit streetfootballworld, and until July 2017 he held the position of the executive coordinator of the Philanthropy Network for Social Justice in Brazil. Thompson continues his lifelong commitment to philanthropy – “love of humankind” – through his commitments to community projects in Latin America.

Almost 25 years on since his first “disruptive” appearance at Salzburg Global Seminar, Session 581 will be a chance for Thompson to explore some further new ideas he has for philanthropy.

“I would like to provoke people to think outside the box. In particular, what talent management means for the future of philanthropy. It’s not just about the process of hiring, retaining and firing people, but also about the skills that philanthropy needs, and the kind of future that we’re envisioning for philanthropy.

“How can you think about talent management in a different way that is not about administrating or managing people, but helping people potentialize what they are?” 

The philanthropic sector will need new skills if it wishes to adapt to the modern world, and Thompson hopes that the session will bring about fresh concepts and ideas.

“We are all philanthropists and we all have the capacity to give, in many different ways… Love of human kind is what mobilizes people to do philanthropy.”


The Salzburg Global program Driving the Change: Global Talent Management for Effective Philanthropy is part of Salzburg Global’s longstanding series Optimizing Institutional Philanthropy. It is being held in partnership with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Zeshan Foundation. More information on the session can be found here. You can follow all of the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSphil.

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Salzburg Global Fellows speak at Pune International Literary Festival
Salzburg Global Fellows speak at Pune International Literary Festival
Salzburg Global Seminar 

Salzburg Global Seminar has continued its growing relationship with the Pune International Literary Festival by acting as a partner for a second consecutive year.

This year’s festival, which took place between September 8 and September 10, saw several Salzburg Global Fellows feature in a series of events as visitors explored all forms and genres of the written word.

On the first day of the festival, several Salzburg Global Fellows took part in an event where they shared details of their experiences at Schloss Leopoldskron.

This event included: Roman Gerodimos, a political scientist, writer and Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change faculty member; Daniel Hahn, a writer and translator who attended Session 461; and Thomas Biebl, director of marketing and communications at Salzburg Global. Their discussion was moderated by documentary filmmaker and author Neil Hollander, who previously attended Session 403

Speaking afterward, Gerodimos said; “We agreed that diversity is fundamental to a society – diversity in any form enriches our life. We learn through difference; through meaningful encounters with people, opinions and cultural texts that are different to what we’re used to.

“However, there is a pressing need to find common ground. This is key to peaceful coexistence within urban communities as well as in the world at large.”

Gerodimos said there were highly complex and interdependent global challenges which national governments and individual communities could not address by themselves. This is why it is important to create opportunities for people to meet, acknowledge the other side’s point of view, and identify shared values and experiences.

He said, “All panelists agreed that the things that unite us are more – and more significant – than the things that divide us. Physical co-presence, inspiration, a safe space for dialogue, the opportunity to speak openly and without fear, the sense that one ought to work toward goals and achievements that transcend the individual or their own community – these are the essential ingredients of finding common ground, and they are precisely what Salzburg Global Seminar does and is about.” 

On the final day of the festival, Gerodimos took to the stage again with Biebl as part of a discussion titled “The Human Library: Urbanization, Multiculturalism and the Art of Listening.” This talk covered the challenges of urbanization, segregation, technological echo chambers, and fear of the other. It also gave Gerodimos the chance to screen his film At the Edge of the Present

Gerodimos said, “Screening At the Edge of the Present was a unique experience as the session hall was packed with a very diverse audience of authors, artists, journalists, students, activists and local residents of all ages. It is the most rewarding and fulfilling experience for a filmmaker to share a screening with an engaged audience - it is a sacred moment of connection and meaning-making. 

“The discussion afterwards was highly sophisticated and it touched upon important issues regarding urbanization, multiculturalism, the need and methods of encouraging people to listen and engage, and the role of digital/social media and the culture of constant connectivity and distraction. The feedback for the film was amazing and it was great to hear people who watched the film say that they intend to screen it in their communities.”

Biebl, who represented Salzburg Global at the festival, said, “It was really impressive to see the scale at which the Pune International Literary Festival has grown in India. We are delighted Salzburg Global could once again play the role of an international partner at an important event.

“We are grateful to our Fellows who were able to appear at this year’s festival and take part in the event. It was an engaging discussion featuring Fellows from creative backgrounds who all had unique perspectives to offer."

PILF was founded by Salzburg Global Fellow and award-winning author Manjiri Prabhu. She credits her experience as a Fellow at Session 403 – From Page to Screen - in inspiring her to launch the festival.

Prabhu said, “We are extremely privileged to have Salzburg Global Seminar partner with the Pune International Literary Festival. Not only are we united in our goal to transform the world step by step, but I believe that our common synergies will open up new avenues and collaborations.”

To find out more about the Pune International Literary Festival, please click here

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Driving the Change - Global Talent Management for Effective Philanthropy
Driving the Change - Global Talent Management for Effective Philanthropy
Salzburg Global Seminar 

In a period of mistrust of our institutions, and crisis in our governance and corporate systems, the philanthropic sector is playing an important role in bridging divides, re-establishing trust, and addressing the need for a new civic imagination that is inclusive of all people in a globalized connected world.

While significant attention is paid to the financial resources at stake in philanthropy, less focus is given to the skills which make grantmaking for the public good possible. 

In philanthropies, human resources can often be viewed simply as an administration function responsible for payroll, benefits administration and logistical aspects of recruitment. In the business world, however, there are signs it can be utilized for other positive purposes. 

The global corporate sector has myriad examples of human resource operations prioritizing the recruitment, development and engagement of talented employees. Businesses invest their time in forward planning and carefully-executed policies for employee engagement, training and evaluation to optimize organisational resilience and performance.

As the global philanthropic sector continues to expand, there will be a greater need for philanthropic institutions to recognize the importance of human resources in attracting, recruiting, and engaging talented staff who can help take their organisations forward.

The session, which will reach a conclusion on Wednesday, will see participants share insights from various regions and aggregate perspectives and experiences from specific areas of expertise within human resources.

They will attend lectures, take part in group discussions, and focus on developing ways to improve perceptions of talent management in philanthropies. Smaller group conversations will highlight new and ongoing challenges to talent management, identify specific skill and leadership training opportunities, and expand the network of talent management professionals in the philanthropic sector.

Looking ahead to 2030, participants will consider the key trends for the philanthropic sector and how they might vary between major global regions. They will also be asked to assess what kind of talent and skills foundations will need now and in the future and how the recruitment process can be designed to meet this.

Special attention will also be paid to the most innovative practices in talent management and how these can be applied to the philanthropic sector. By the end of the program, participants will produce a concise set of recommendations for dissemination to the global philanthropic sector. 

This session is part of Salzburg Global’s longstanding series Optimizing Institutional Philanthropy, and also builds on the first meeting held at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in 2013.  

Andrew Ho, US development director at Salzburg Global Seminar, said, “This is a wonderful opportunity to expand the conversation on the important role of talent management in enabling philanthropy to be more effective, courageous, and impactful for society globally. We are grateful to be hosting this group, and look forward to inspiring collaborative solutions and creating lasting networks among the participants."


The Salzburg Global program Driving the Change: Global Talent Management for Effective Philanthropy is part of Salzburg Global’s longstanding series Optimizing Institutional Philanthropy. It is being held in partnership with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Zeshan Foundation. More information on the session can be found here. You can follow all of the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSphil.

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