Innovations for Peace and Development (IPD) is an institution of the University of Texas at Austin that supplies, analyzes, and distributes information and data for the professional world of international development. As part of our vision to make complex global phenomena readily understandable to those whom implement change, IPD is launching a new project that tracks the newly formed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Our job is to analyze and summarize the global news and opinions as the story of the AIIB unfolds.
My Name is Casey McMahan and I am one of many passionate students (some undergrad, others Masters and PhDs) who is working on this project as part of IPD’s summer intern program. The project is directed by one of IPD’s founders, Dr. Kate Weaver and IPD’s Program Manager, Peter Morrison.
We aim to arm you with ample information to form opinions and challenge claims about all happenings related to the AIIB. While maintaining an extensive database of relevant news, Op-Eds, and articles, we will regularly release summaries and issue-specific blogs and policy briefs. Allow me to introduce you to our “news-mining” methodology.
Every day, at least one intern is combing through news feeds (in either English or Mandarin) and extracting summaries and important themes. We have designed a general categorization system by which we can capture certain ideas and events. Needless to say, much thought went into its craft, but I have every reason to believe the system that stands is comprehensive yet simple, and its flexibility allows for the inevitable curveballs that the course of global news will throw our way.
The first category has the very broad title of geopolitics. Its inclusion in our project originates from the mountains of speculation erected by the world’s economists, academics, and world-watchers. The ideas of AIIB’s creation range from narratives along the lines of “A Bank by China, For China” to “a compliment to U.S. interests”. In this category the base body of tags includes cooperation with other multilateral development banks, U.S. responses and reactions, and Asian economics.
The second category captures news related to AIIB’s structure and policies. Much concern has been expressed about which nations will get which percentages of voting power within the bank. This arena covers potential member states and their motivations for joining/abstaining, AIIB leadership profiles, and perhaps most interestingly, the development of lending policies, loan structures and target areas.
The final category is what we expect to later become the core of this project (as the bank becomes operational). This is aptly titled Program Cycle, and includes everything related to AIIBs actual implementation and effect on the region. Here we will track where the money goes and what the money does. Are the projects effective? Is the AIIB actually closing the Asian Infrastructure Gap, which is supposedly the justification for the bank’s existence?
With the aid of this site, you are able to search for news and events through the lens of the topics mentioned above. The website will provide readers with easy-to-navigate data to answer a myriad of questions such as:
What will be the AIIB’s geographic reach? Should the AIIB be seen as a threat to other lending banks or will it present new opportunities, or perhaps a little bit of both? What will the AIIB’s impact on the region look like? How will AIIB address issues of human rights and environmental degradation that may be associated with Bank projects?
What questions to you have? What else should we be investigating? Want to give us your opinion? Please reach us at email@example.com
Casey McMahan is an undergraduate studying Spanish and Geography at the University of Texas at Austin.