Mark Thoma Excited about Student Presence at INET Berlin Conference

Mark Thoma has picked up on a significant aspect of this year’s INET annual conference

The inclusion of hundreds of students and young scholars through a parallel event organized by INET’s Young Scholars Initiative, or YSI. The YSI Commons, as it’s called, is enabling students from around the world to gather in Berlin, share ideas, watch live video feeds of the conference, and meet with important members of the INET community, including Joseph Stiglitz, Andrew Sheng, and George Soros.

The program is a spontaneous outgrowth of INET’s decision to invite 25 students to apply to come to the conference. When we first announced the call for applications we expected 100 to 150 people to respond. Instead, we received replies from 563 applicants. Sensing a budding movement, we decided to create a space that would enable more students and young scholars to participate in the conference. Almost immediately the requests to attend started pouring in from around the world. Eventually we had to shut down registration because of the overwhelming demand.

Although we were somewhat caught off guard this time by the level of enthusiasm, it won’t happen again. At future events we plan to invite even more students and young scholars and incorporate them even more fully into the program. The significance of this is well explained by Thoma:

“When Joe Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, James Heckman and many more names like that stand up and endorse the push to think about economics in a new way, it could give a student with a new idea, and the understandable hesitation that comes with it, the confidence to carry it through,” Thoma writes. “If it works out, there’s a good chance some very well-known and respected economists will help to push the idea forward, or at the very least be open-minded, and that provides important motivation to those who might discover something new.”

To read the blog post click here.