As a summer graduate assistant at the Monterey Institute, my daily tasks range from marketing programs, providing logistical support and even learning to cook hot-dogs on charcoal at Del Monte Beach. However, the best part by far is being able to be a part of the institute’s many summer programs such as FMS, DPMI, and PTD, or Peace Trade and Development. This summer I was lucky enough to actively participate on the many site visits with PTD. I’m pleased to share stories from our fascinating excursions:
When asked to describe the Monterey Institute’s Peace Trade and Development program, Reed College graduate Shruti Korada could not have said it better when she remarked, “PTD has made development come alive for me.”
In this simple statement, Shruti made reference to her learning and experiencing of complex development topics in the most hands-on and real-life way possible. The program included class sessions taught by top-notch MIIS faculty and many immersive site visits on the Central Coast.
Alumni Joel Saldana commented that PTD teaches students how to, “One, identify what the global issues are today, and beyond Identifying, two is understanding what those issues are, and the third part of that is for those individuals to figure out how they can try to be a part of the solution to those problems.”
Aside from the signature pedagogy in the classroom, the immersive excursions allowed the students to see peace, trade and development “come to life.” They began their transformational journey learning about local and global development in Santa Cruz, where they visited the Homeless Garden Project and the Firelight Foundation. After meeting with Global Supply Chain managers from Tesla Motors, they traveled on site to pitch a proposal about where should be the next source for lithium batteries.
After the visit, PTD Alum Jose Alvarez was most inspired by Tesla’s “drive for having no limits, literally. If somebody were to talk to me about going to the moon for lithium or washing away the whole oil industry, I’d probably laugh and walk away. When Tesla talks about that, though, you can’t help but to listen carefully and with all seriousness because you get this strange feeling that they actually could. Tesla embodies innovation. They’re the bold company the future needs for getting here.”
Salsabeel Khan described Tesla as, “an environment where even the sky isn’t the limit. Do you want to go to space? Go to space!”
The students also traveled to the Wells Fargo headquarters in San Francisco, where they met with MIIS alumni working in the Global Financial Crimes Intelligence department. Students learned how the department monitors financial transactions to prevent money laundering and corruption. Some students, such as Nyoma Clement were very intrigued by this field, and the visit helped them direct their career aspirations.
Clement remarked, “Actually my coming to MIIS has helped me reexamine myself as to what I need to learn in life. I have decided I wanted to do risk management. I really want to work in the area of regulatory compliance and managing political risk around the world and financial risk. I want to study how risk can be used to help governments, NGOs and the corporate world in accomplishing the tasks they have set forth.”
The immersive site visits solidified and transformed the career goals for many by allowing the students to speak with the professionals in the field. However, not only did they learn from the professionals in the field, as well as the expert MIIS faculty, but they learned immensely from each other. Just by sharing car rides, lunches and occasional trips to salsa dancing, I could tell how much the students had inspired one other. Their interests in the complex development topics were expanded and defined. To sum it up in four words, Jose Alvarez describes PTD as “innovative, different and an empowering experience.”
Learn more about PTD at go.miis.edu/ptd
About the author:
Cara Hagan is pursuing her MBA at the Monterey Institute with a focus on the role of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility within Supply Chains. She has interned for a host of non-profits, working primarily on economic development and workers’ rights in Latin America. She received her BA from Otterbein University where she studied in Alicante, Spain and Valdivia, Chile. Cara aspires to have a career in which she can positively impact supply chains, especially focusing on the lack of human rights in the garment industry.