November 6th, 2009 | Posted in PRB News
by Mary Kent, senior demographic editor
Attending a large professional conference serves several purposes for demographers: It is a place to trade ideas with peers working on similar problems and with similar data; it offers a window into interesting projects outside the often narrow focus of one’s own specialty; it encourages us to ponder big, complicated issues, like climate change; and it provides an opportunity to catch up with old friends and colleagues and to meet new ones. Despite long days in stuffy, windowless meeting rooms, attending a conference can be energizing, reminding us why we went into the field in the first place and giving us fresh ideas about how to approach our work.
The IUSSP conference occurs only every four years and is probably the largest international gathering of population scientists. We asked a diverse group of population scientists attending the 2009 IUSSP meetings in Marrakech what they will take away from the experience and what they see as important emerging issues in their field.
This video features:
Ragui Assaad is a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He recently returned to the university from Cairo, where he served as the regional director for West Asia and North Africa for the Population Council. Ragui has written numerous publications, including a PRB policy brief on the MENA youth bulge. He hosted one of PRB’s Discuss Online sessions on the topic in 2008.
Joel E. Cohen is Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of Populations at Rockefeller University. He heads the Laboratory of Populations at both Rockefeller and Columbia universities. Joel’s research deals mainly with demography, ecology, population genetics, epidemiology, and social organization of human and nonhuman populations, and with mathematical concepts useful in these fields. He is the author of numerous works on these subjects, including the seminal work, How Many People Can the Earth Support? He currently serves on the board of Trustees for PRB.
John F. May is a demographer at the World Bank who tracks population and health trends in sub-Saharan Africa. He recently published the study “Capturing Ethiopia’s Demographic Bonus.” Before joining the World Bank in 1997, John worked on population projects around the world for the UN Population Fund, UNICEF, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the IUSSP, and the Futures Group International. John was a visiting scholar at PRB in 1991-1992 and again in 2005-2006.
Lori Hunter is a professor of sociology and environmental studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and editor-in-chief of the journal Population and Environment. She is part of an ongoing project investigating the links between the environment and HIV/AIDS for people living in specific rural areas of South Africa. Her research interests embrace many aspects of environment, health, and population dynamics, including the public perception of environmental issues and environmental inequality. Lori spent September 2006 to April 2007 at PRB as a Population-Health-Environment Bixby Fellow. During this time, she contributed several articles to our website.