Tavneet Suri celebrates six years of VoxDev and hands over the reins
This is a bittersweet column to write: my last as the Editor-in-Chief at VoxDev.
It is now coming up on six years since we launched VoxDev and probably seven or eight since we started to imagine what we might do. First and foremost: happy sixth anniversary, VoxDev!!
It has been an amazing six years – I am so immensely proud of what we have accomplished. Along with that pride comes the feeling that it is time for others to take over, for others to decide what is next for VoxDev. It will, of course, never be a full goodbye to VoxDev. Instead, I will transition from being Editor-in-Chief to being a reader and, hopefully, an occasional contributor.
Over the last six years, VoxDev has published 698 columns, 122 videos, 195 podcasts and six VoxDevLits, and we have featured about 1350 different contributing authors. During this time, we have had over two million page views, from over 930,000 different people across the world. We also have an additional eight VoxDevLits in the works that should be released over the next year, along with many ongoing updates to our existing VoxDevLits.
I would never have guessed that we could get this far in six years. When we started VoxDev, or even started thinking about it, I thought we were all slightly mad. It seemed like a pipe dream. Yet, all the stuff of adages and proverbs is true: when we work together, we can climb even the highest mountains. The last few years have been some of the most challenging, but, with a lot of help1, we seem to have come out the other side, hopefully stronger and with a deeper appreciation for community, especially for those like me with few roots. Today is certainly a day for the VoxDev team to feel good and celebrate our successes, party anyone?
VoxDev is a team. I have loved every single minute of starting VoxDev and building it to what it is now, but I did not do this alone, far from it. I have been privileged to work alongside the most amazing team, right from day one. A huge thank you to all of them for all their hard work, their dedication, their belief in our vision and, most of all, for putting up with me! This includes all the Managing Editors (Nidhi Parekh, Nikita Sharma and Oliver Hanney), our funders (PEDL, CEPR, IGC, GIZ and FCDO), an absolutely fabulous Board of Editors that anyone on earth would be lucky to work with (Christopher Woodruff, Robin Burgess, Rema Hanna and Chang-Tai Hsieh), those working behind the scenes on the website and communications (Tessa Ogden and Sophie Roughton), all of our contributors and, most of all, you, our readers!
Let me also say that much as VoxDev has been a lot of work and energy on my part, it has given back in equal measure. I have learnt more than I could have ever imagined, I have gotten to know many new, exciting researchers in the field, and I have a newfound excitement for what we do as development economists! I am constantly amazed at the creativeness and rigour in development and how much our collective work can speak to fundamentally important policy questions of the day. Each day I have been at VoxDev makes me more hopeful for what we can all accomplish, together.
Running VoxDev has been a constant source of inspiration for me. I am reminded by something Amy Poehler said: “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” Thank you all for changing my life!
As I hand over the reins, we are going to change the governance of VoxDev. There will no longer be an Editor-in-Chief on the masthead of VoxDev and instead, we will let a bigger board work together to run and manage VoxDev. So, much as I am sad to leave, I am excited that I am leaving it in the best possible hands. Chris Woodruff and Robin Burgess will stay on the Editorial Board for the next couple of months to transition and grow the new board, a process which starts off with Michael Callen, Stefano Caria, Namrata Kala, and Robert Darko Osei joining the board. When Chris and Robin step off the board, they may add a couple more board members. I think Mike, Stefano, Namrata, and Robert will bring a new infusion of energy and passion into VoxDev and I look forward to seeing what they do next!
With this, I hand over VoxDev to the new, fabulous Editorial Board. Safari njema!!
A note from Robin and Chris:
We want to take a moment to express our deep gratitude to Tavneet for the work she has done building VoxDev from the ground up. As the founding Editor-in-Chief, the site will always bear her imprint. Her judgment has been impeccable and our weekly board meetings always stimulating. With the three of us stepping back from the day-to-day running of the site, we look forward to seeing the direction the new board takes as they settle in and move forward.
1 The introductory language at the start of this video translates as: “These employees danced with love and pleasure. By participating in the Jerusalema challenge we hope to radiate the feeling of togetherness and strength. For everyone who works in healthcare, and for the rest of the world.”