13 July 2017
YSSP was already a strong gust of wind
by Andreas Zinggl
An old saying is, that the flapping of the wings of a butterfly can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world. Following this metaphor the YSSP was not the butterfly, but already a strong gust of wind for me. The butterfly had arrived earlier, one and a half years before YSSP, in the shape of a tiny newspaper article on the famous IIASA Mauritius model.
This butterfly appeared just in time, when I considered working out a concept for my master thesis. And it was just before I left for holidays in Sri Lanka. Learning from the Mauritius model for Sri Lanka, why not? And so, one decision led to the next. The metaphor of a hurricane might be exaggerated, however the consequences of reading a newspaper article are normally not like these.
Population, Economy and Environment – the question of how these fields interact has been central in my work until today. Dealing with measures to adapt agricultural systems in times of climate change, managing programs for education, livelihood, micro-finance for the poor, vocational training or food-security are my current challenges as a program manager in Pakistan.
However, my journey has followed a more typical path of chaos theory rather than a straight road, years of regional planning, nearly two decades in radio-journalism, intermediate activities in social work and disaster relief. The latter took me to various regions in Africa and Asia, where I got the opportunity to see the consequences of climate change with my own eyes, floods and droughts, how people try to cope with the situation, to see which parts of the population are more affected than others.
The compass, which has guided me in the complexity of the world, I found at IIASA, somewhere in the Upper Belvedere, during the YSSP in 1994. That was a very hot summer in Vienna – turning out to be a strong gust of wind in fact.
 yes, the poor.
1994 YSSPers Adil Najam, Sylvia Tramberend, and Andreas Zinggl at the YSSP 40th Anniversary Event © Margaret Goud Collins
Last edited: 19 July 2017
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