A note from Tavneet Suri, our Editor-in-Chief, on our three-year anniversary
Happy third birthday, VoxDev!
While we have always enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate anniversaries of the launch of VoxDev – with retrospective remarks over the year that has passed, and a prospective look at the year to come – it is impossible to write such remarks today for our third anniversary without starting with the challenges the world faces from the pandemic, and as we face the long unacknowledged structural weaknesses and faults of our systems.
I personally came into 2020 with great anticipation of things to come for this year and the next, and now, at the midpoint of the year, I feel like the wheels have come off. And yet in so many ways, I hold onto a sense of hope, in that the challenges we face here and around the globe will – like many challenges – lead us to rise to the occasion and better ourselves and our world as we are pushed hard to reckon with who we are, where we are, and why we are where we are. I hope that from these challenges, we can build a new normal, and by finally fundamentally revising who we are, we can become better and more resilient versions of ourselves. History has shown that the world can indeed not just survive but even thrive in the wake of such challenges, and so I hope we view these current times as an opportunity to create and reconstruct the better world we have long talked about … one which has yet to be brought to fruition.
While I confess I do worry about our collective ability to rise to these challenges, as I seem to do more often than not these days, I also search for inspiration. That inspiration comes in many forms, but a large part comes from all of you: our readers, our contributors, our colleagues, and our students out there who are doing their little parts to make the world a better place. So, I want to thank you for that: thank you for being that inspiration that I so desperately need these days.
These days I have been listening to one of my favorite artists, Esperanza Spalding, a lot. Her music, her talent always inspire hope in me, so let me share a link to one of her most moving songs (for me), called Espera.1 Hope shines through in her voice and her words – a hope for keeping faith in mankind, a hope in small steps by each of us leading to big changes in the world, and a hope that we do not choose to close our eyes but instead choose not to give up. I hope you take a listen to this extraordinary artist and, like me, take not just solace but also a renewed sense of purpose and action from her words.
In the spirit of small steps, VoxDev powers on as we turn three. From so many perspectives, I hope this means we are moving past our ‘terrible twos’. This past year has been full of new articles and videos as well as lots of podcasts on VoxDev Talks, which we launched over a year ago. This year will bring a new ‘content type’ that I will hold off on announcing for a little while longer. We had planned on announcing it on our birthday, but all things in 2020 are running a little later than planned. Please look out for this in the coming few months.
On this occasion of our anniversary, I think the best way to celebrate this year is to reach out to you, our contributors and our readers, and ask you for your feedback and help. I have a long list of questions for you, so here goes!
To date, we have had over 350,000 visitors to our site, which I count as a big win. But much as we continue to grow, we keep brainstorming ideas on how to reach more people in developing countries – more researchers, policymakers, non-profits, firms, and people in these economies. If you have ideas of how we can do that, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].
Over a year ago, we also launched the idea of having series of articles on a particular topic. These are, of course, harder to pull together as we need to coordinate several different contributors’ schedules, but they are one of the most rewarding things to do. If you have ideas for series (or rather, topics for series) that you would like to see, let us know.
Do you think there are big missing areas on VoxDev? Have we missed any big development questions that you would like to see more evidence on? If we have, we want to know!
Before I sign off, I have to say a big thank you to our awesome new Managing Editor, Nikita Sharma, who took the helm near the end of 2019 and had to suddenly navigate the extreme challenges of the first half of this year. Our editorial board – Robin Burgess, Rema Hanna, Chang Tai Hsieh, and Chris Woodruff – are as fabulous and steadfast as ever. And last but not the least, I am grateful to CEPR, IGC, and PEDL for their never-ending support.
Please stay in touch, we always love to hear from you. And please keep well as you continue to confront all the challenges 2020 has brought!
1 For copyright reasons, I cannot post the lyrics.