I am less than a week away from leaving DC. It has been an incredible summer with lots of friends, family, sightseeing, and general living the DC Life. But what really made the summer special was the Washington Program course I took with Dr. Kate Weaver. There were nine students in the “Crisis and Change in International Organizations” class held at the UT Archer Center. The objective of the course was to understand the changes, crises and reforms taking place in the United Nations, World Bank, IMF and other international organizations. This course would not have been the same if it had not been taught in DC.
Instead of spending hours in the classroom discussing theoretical research papers, Dr. Weaver arranged a series of guest speakers who told us what was really going on in these organizations. We talked to people from the World Bank, IMF, UN and UNHCR who gave their perspective on their organizations. We talked US Congressional staff who gave us the government view. And we talked to watchdog groups like the Bank Information Center who gave us the civil society view. Every one of the speakers was engaging and refreshingly candid. My summer in DC would not have been complete without that learning experience.
On Tuesday, 2 August, Savin and I fly to Beijing, China for a two-week course titled “Development Within a Low Carbon World: Preparing Professionals for Policy and Planning Instruments for Green Innovation.” I am really looking forward to that class and visiting China for the first time. I will write one more blog post when it is over. It should be the perfect end to an exciting summer of learning and experiences.
My first couple of weeks working at Development Gateway has been great. Our geocoding team has students from LBJ, BYU and William and Mary. We all sit together cozily in a big conference room. But as much as I enjoy my workdays, it is my evenings and weekends in DC that I really love. There is so much to do in this city. The past two Fridays we walked down to the National Gallery of Art for Jazz in the Garden. On our way there the first time we stopped to watch President Obama’s helicopter land on the White House front lawn. I am pretty sure we saw his feet on the other side of the helicopter. After our picnic and some free jazz we headed to Chinatown to eat a variety of delicious Asian foods, including $1 sushi and Peking duck.
Last week the World Bank held their Innovation Days event at their headquarters. The event focused on innovations and technologies that are being applied to international development. Their lobby was filled with booths touting innovative projects that use technology to improve the lives of millions of people in developing countries. We listened to panels discussing the latest innovations in East Asia and we saw a film screening on sustainable green energy development around the world. We also had a treat Sunday night when LBJ School Dean Robert Hutchings invited us to a reception hosted by the Ben Barnes Group at the Roosevelt House for the Health Privacy Summit which took place in D.C. this week. I feel like I have done so much and I have only been here two weeks. I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the summer has in store.