Story behind the course: Meet Ayu Pratiwi

October 8, 2021

This time we will look at the teacher behind our course Climate Change and Trade in the Global South, soon to start in November. Her experience in the private sector and empirical approach have led her to create a unique course on climate change and trade, looking to provide tools to better reconcile these competing objectives. Curious who is the teacher behind this course? Meet Ayu Patriwi!

What is your professional background?

I did my bachelor degree in Business Management in Singapore and worked in corporate and management consulting firms in Singapore shortly after graduation, before switching to Development Economics for my graduate courses and eventually my PhD in Japan. I also worked for some international organizations before deciding to be full time academic. My research is empirical and mostly based on fieldwork surveys, particularly using a randomized-controlled trial approach in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

Why do you teach this course?

Openness to trade can help a country to prosper and alleviate poverty (even though the evidence is rather mixed). However, oftentimes it was perceived to have negative environmental implications, especially in developing countries. There is still little understanding on how to manage the trade-off between the two, and my course attempts to unpack this conundrum.

Why should students take your course?

I did research for courses related to this topic but found that much of the international trade course content is too economic-centric, and the environmental sciences parts are too technical for social science students. My course attempts to balance the two so that students regardless of their background can seamlessly follow. Due to my past experiences as a corporate consultant and international development officer, I used to work with practical and empirical approaches instead of heavy theories, thus I introduce relevant tools for analysis and encourage students to adopt these too throughout the course.

What do you do in your free time? Hobbies/Interests?

My second daughter just turned 7 months recently, she is taking up all my mental and physical spaces. My free time is spent entertaining the kids, outdoor walks or indoor plays, or the Netflix binge-watch otherwise.

How do you update yourself in your field/ how do you update your course?

Research on climate and environment has a rapid turnaround, the moment you know something had a breakthrough, the next day it may become obsolete as there is always new development based on more data and more recent studies. This way, I usually use Twitter to follow the social media account of prominent scientists or organizations, who often circulate the latest results of their research (or deliver their thoughts and discussion) in the most effective fashion of 140 characters or so. This way, every morning or even a few times a day, you can easily keep yourself updated on the gist and decide the most important materials to read further.

What kind of content do you consume?

As I mostly read academic papers for works, I would like to read or enjoy more entertaining materials for recreation and relaxation. Recently, I read crime novels and watch Japanese anime.

Can you recommend podcasts, literature, movies etc. that discusses the themes of your course?

I recently came across a great Netflix documentary titled The Island of Faith, about how indigenous communities in Indonesia were affected by climate change and how do they (try to) tackle them using a community-based approach. This documentary is the perfect embodiment of the first few chapters of IPCC reports regarding the physical impacts of climate change.

Anything else to add?

See you in the course :)

Follow Ayu on Twitter @ayprat19

Photo credits: Marija Zaric, 2021, on Unsplash.