Archive for MPA

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Trade Club hosts special guest Bryan O’Bryne

Bryan Flyer Final copy (1)

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Apple Pie and Pineapple Sorbet: U.S. and Cuban Nationalism

Why is Cuba such a contradiction? Because Cuba is characterized by everything I was told the world should not be!  Socialist not democratic, communist not capitalist, systemic human rights violations, a dictatorship, inefficient, unproductive; should I continue?  I was able to get a sense of this notorious island during a seven day immersive learning excursion with twenty-seven other MIIS students and the renowned Professor Jan Black.

There was a time when I imagined Cuba as a socialist utopia. I had thought Cuba was going to be the national anthropomorphization of Eugene V. Debs famous quote that is “opposing a social order where it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives to secure barely enough for a wretched existence.  But, there is no substitute for actually visiting the country – after seven days in Cuba, I’ve realized that the little island nation, and the United States, are a lot more complex than I was led to believe in the comfort of my Midwest upbringing.

As an American, I grew up on the smell of apple pie; lightly toasted crust, crisscrossed across the top, somehow evoking feelings of liberty, justice…righteous stuff. You see, Cuba, at least for United States citizens, is one gigantic contradiction and trying to digest and make sense of the country through the nationalistic viewpoint from which my mind has been programmed to think, whether I like it or not, is no easy task. Close your eyes and think about apple pie. Now, envision biting into pineapple sorbet.  So, I apologize now if, and that is a big if, you get to the end of this blog and you walk away more confused than you started. That’s fine though. Cuba could be the poster child for the phrase; the more you know the less you think you know.

Our professor and guide Dr. Jan Black told us to experience Cuba using our five senses. I would like to take the liberty of taking you, my reader, along for the ride with the idea of trying to engage your five senses. Unfortunately, I am less likely to engage your sense of smell.  But, here we go:

We met with all different types of people, from Cuban foreign ministers to a diplomat from the U.S. Interest Section. We also met with individual Cubans, both pro-government and oppositionist. We met with U.S. expats working with the Cuban health system and Cuban students studying international relations. What was so trying after listening to all of them was that you could easily pick each one up and place them into two buckets, Cuban Nationals (CN) or U.S. Nationals (USN). Whether we were speaking to Cuban oppositionists or expat sympathizers of the Cuban government their rhetoric fit, nicely, within these two buckets. Their world-views and indeed those of us students had been systematically crafted by the nations from which they grew up and regardless of their support for either side or not they continued to use rhetoric that perpetuated the conflict between the United States and Cuba. What was most contradictory of all was that these two worldviews of the same conflict were like hearing two completely different stories for two completely different historical events told perpetually for generations upon generations without change.

How are these national worldviews constructed within a citizenry? It is often much more subtle than one would assume.  Irrespective of whether we understand nationalism as a positive or negative force, it is generally acknowledged that nationalism places the nation on the highest pedestal and viewed as the supreme agency of meaning, collective identity, and moral justification.  Critically noting that one of the powerful ways in which nationalism becomes historically instated is through its presumption that the nation is sacred, likening it to be equivalent to the church.  Interestingly, if nationalism is being valued as sacred within the population we can see its physical manifestation in the ritualized images of national leaders and national public ceremonies that are underscored by the nations presumed history of greatness. Harry Anastasiou, a professor of Conflict Resolution at Portland State University and world-renowned leader in the settlement process in Cyprus, goes as far to claim nationalism can be a justification for divine election.

Che.1.To demonstrate just how subtle the presence of nationalism is in our everyday lives I have included the photos of the front and back of a postcard I brought back from Cuba. Here on this postcard we can see physical, relevant and daily manifestations of both USN and CN and it should allow us to further understand how nationalism is installed in the hearts and minds of its citizenry’s “collective narcissism and exclusivist notions” that perpetuate the conflict. On one side of the post card we see a photo of a billboard in Cuba. The billboard reads, “Hasta la Victoria, Siempre” next to the image of one of Cuba’s most iconic national leaders, Ernesto Cheguevara. “Hasta la victoria, Siempre,”a common phrase seen and heard around Cuba, roughly translates to “Always victorious.” A simple suggestion that Cuba’s “divine election” is a moral justification for the use of force or violence to ensure the Cuban nation is victorious, forever.

I brought this postcard back from Cuba and sent it to a friend. I sent the card from the U.S. and had to attach a U.S. postal stamp, which conveniently reads “USA Forever” next to the iconic national flag of the United States, which can be seen in the bottom right of the picture. This is a simple suggestion that the U.S. nation too, is supposed to be everlasting, above all other nations. Two simple images combined with rhetoric that generates collective narcissism for one’s own country and therefore excludes all others.Postcard USA forever final

These two simple and fairly common phrases on the same postcard and seen on a daily basis in the U.S. and in Cuba, most likely evoke emotions and sentiments rarely analyzed by their readers. However, they have profound effects on each population’s worldviews. Since the U.S. and Cuba are fundamentally opposed to each other how can Cuba be victorious always if the USA is supposed to be victorious forever? Indeed, a provocative juxtaposition of both nationalistic viewpoints and just how contradictory these two nations can be.

Despite this propaganda propagated by each nation’s government that leads us to believe our side of history is the correct side, it is not separate historical events at all but rather a singular relationship that is decades old and has affected future generations. Their “official histories” pick them up as they are born and blindly place them into one of these boxes like what was so nicely done for me. If I could have avoided this ear to ear mind piercing juxtaposition of “right” and “wrong” I could have perhaps had a second to sit and enjoy Cuba for what it really truly is; another, yet completely unique and colorful example of human perseverance over incursion, dominance or, better yet, colonialism that I too can be proud of my own nation for (at least at one point in our history this could have been the case). Cubans and U.S. Citizens aren’t that different after all – apples or pineapples, it’s all fruit, right?

 

-This is a journalistic piece adapted from a larger academic paper produced entirely by the Author. The piece intends to further dissect the nationalistic viewpoints of each country and explain how nationalism tends to perpetuate international conflicts. Although the writing is entirely that of the Author many ideas were inspired by Professor and conflict resolution practitioner Harry Anastasiou. The entire piece can be made available upon request to the Author.

About the Author: Josh Fleming is a MA in International Policy Studies student at the Monterey Institute. He currently works as a graduate assistant in the Graduate School of International Policy and Management and is the IPS First-year Student Council Representative.

Works Cited

Alter, P. (1994). Nationalism. London: Edward Arnold, Hodder Headline Group. Anastasiou, H. (2007). Billigerent Nationalism in a Globalizing World: a Peace and Conflict Studies Perspective. International Studies Association 48th Annual Convention. Chicago: International studies Association. Bohm , D., & Nichol, L. (1996). On Dialogue. London: Routledge. Deutsch, K. W. (1966). Nationalism and social Communication: An inquiry into the Foundations of Nationality. Cambridge, Massachusetts : Cambridge. Hobsbawm, E. (1990). Nations and nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality. Ignatieff, M. (1999). Blood and Belonging: Journeys into Nationalism. New York , NY : Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Orwell, G. (1971). Notes on Nationalism. In S. Orwell and I. Agnus eds. . Collected Essays: Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, , 3. Smith , A. D. (1993). National Identity . LSE Economic and Political Science Magazine , pp. 8-11. Soul, J. R. (2004, March). the Collapse of Globalism and the Rebirth of Nationalism. Harper’s Magazine , pp. 33-43. Sullivan , M. P. (2014). Cuba: U.S. Policies and Issues for the 113th Congress. Congressional research Service.

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Spring and Summer Opportunities in Russia!

Applications Invited for a Trip to the Russian Far East in Spring 2015:

The Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies is pleased to announce that two MIIS and two Middlebury students will participate in a research trip to the Russian Far East under the supervision of Professor Tsuneo Akaha (GSIPM). The trip is designed to introduce the participants to the political and economic issues of contemporary Russia, with a focus on her Far Eastern territories, and relations with the neighboring countries. Students will take part in meetings with faculty, researchers, and students of Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok and the Economic Research Institute in Khabarovsk, as well as local community representatives in these two largest cities in the Far East. The students will develop a research report based on their trip and pre-trip and post-trip research. Students who wish to earn academic credit will consult with Prof. Akaha and Prof. Vassilieva.

The entire cost of the trip will be covered by the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies, a MIIS project funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Preference will be given to students with advanced Russian language skills.

Two MIIS participants will be selected through the following procedures:

  1. An essay describing the applicant’s background and interest in Russia (including the Far East) and her relations with the regional neighbors, including Korea, Mongolia, China, and Japan. The essay should be three-pages long and submitted by email to Prof. Akaha and Prof. Anna Vassilieva by Friday, November 7, 2014.
  2. An up-to-date resume, to be submitted along with the above essay.
  3. An oral interview after review of the above submissions.

Applicants will be notified of the results of the selection by Friday, November 14, 2014.

Inquiries may be addressed to Prof. Akaha at takaha@miis.edu or Prof. Vassilieva at avassili@miis.edu.

Applications Invited for Research Trips or Internships in Russia in Summer 2015:

The Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies is pleased to announce that there are funds available for four MIIS students to undertake an internship and/or research in Russia in the summer of 2015.

The entire cost of the trip will be covered by the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies, a MIIS project funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York. The available funding covers round-trip travel, accommodation allowance, and miscellaneous expenses. Only students with advanced Russian language skills will be considered.

Four students will be selected through the following procedures:

  1. An essay in Russian describing the applicant’s background and interest in Russia. The essay should be three-pages long and submitted by email to Prof. Anna Vassilieva by Sunday, March 1, 2015.
  2. An up-to-date resume, to be submitted along with the above essay.
  3. A detailed research/internship proposal, including desired placement, focus of research/internship, and deliverable.
  4. An oral interview after review of the above submissions.

Applicants will be notified of the results of the selection by Sunday, March 15, 2015.

Inquiries may be addressed to Prof. Vassilieva at avassili@miis.edu.

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Upcoming lecture by Mr. Han Dong-man, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in San Francisco

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A Vision of the Inter-Korea Relations and the U.S. Korea Alliance

Mr. Han Dong-man has been serving as Consul General of the Republic of Korea in San Francisco since May 2013. Consul General Han received his Bachelor’s at Yonsei University in Korea and his Master’s in International Organization Law at the Pantheon-Sorbonne University in Paris, France. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1985 and has held Secretary posts in Algeria, the United Kingdom, and Australia as well as in the Office of the President in Korea. In 2002, he served as the Director of the Security Policy Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and as Consul at the Korean Consulate General in New York. He also served as the Ministry-Counsellor at the Korean Embassy in Washington D.C. Prior to his post in San Francisco, he served as the Director-General of the International Economic Affairs Bureau of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2011 – 2013). Consul General Han received the Order of the Service Medal in 2012 and he has written four books, including The Next 10 Years of Korea, an insightful look at the future of Korea on the international stage for the next decade to come. He is married and has two sons.

Event details:

Open to the public

Irvine Auditorium, Monterey Institute of International Studies

6:00-7:30 pm, Thursday, October 2, 2014

This lecture is co-sponsored by The Center for East Asian Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies and The Gentrain Society of Monterey Peninsula College.

For inquiry, contact Prof. Tsuneo Akaha, Monterey Institute of International Studies at (831) 647-3564.

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

MIIS students meet President Obama’s paternal grandmother in Kenya!

Over the summer, students participating in DPMI Kenya had the opportunity to visit President Barack Obama’s paternal grandmother! She lives in the province of Nyanza, on the eastern edge of Lake Victoria. Nyanza is a Bantu word which means “a large mass of water.” The provincial capital is Kisumu, where the DPMI training is centered in partnership with the Omega Foundation.

Said DPMI Kenya participant Maritza Munzon: “There is lots of natural beauty near town and I feel fortunate to have taken a walk through Kakamega Forest, taken a boat ride on the biggest lake in the world (Lake Victoria) and visited President Obama’s paternal grandmother! I never thought I’d get to do any of it, let alone the last part!”

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Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

GSIPM Dean’s Seminar Series with Professor Beryl Levinger

Beryl

Participation: Guiding Value or Empty Buzzword?

During Professor Levinger’s recent sabbatical, she worked with 14 international organizations in 16 different contexts and countries. The one thread that bound this set of amazingly diverse experiences together is that each organization claimed to embrace participation as a value that guided their work. Her talk will explore the very diverse meanings that organizations attach to the term “participation,” and what this means for the future of development work.

All are welcome.

When: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 from 12:15 – 1:45 PM

Where: McGowan 100

 

Friday, September 12th, 2014

What if your DPMI Plus Assignment was the PEACE CORPS?

michelle in nica

 

Michelle Zaragoza, IEP, left the United States to begin her Peace Corps service as an Environmental Education Promoter in Nicaragua last month. What follows is an excerpt from her blog: “My Journey as a Peace Corps Master’s International Volunteer”

How it all began (152 days til departure):

 

March 5th: Just another regular Wednesday morning. I was pacing my living room anxious about the phone call I was about to make to my Peace Corps recruiter. Not having heard from them in more than two months I was more worried than excited.


First try went to voice mail and I thought I would just try tomorrow…I called again and she picked up on the first ring. She started some small talk, and asked what I was up to in my life. The whole time I was hoping she would just get to the point and tell me what ever bad news she had. She asked about the research I was doing in school and I gave her a 30 second description of my Fulbright proposal for an environmental education study in Nicaragua. She laughed…why was she laughing!? After what seemed like for ever she says, “Well we have a slight problem”…here it was! 


She says, “I know we had originally told you you’d leave in September but that has changed. Could you leave earlier?”


Confused I said yes, although a little worried about how much earlier that meant. And she says, “We think you would be perfect for our Environmental Science Education program in Nicaragua that leaves in Aug…” YES!!!! YES and YES. I may have yelled yes about five times into her poor ear! After waiting ten months since I first sent in my application I was being extended an invitation to my top choice! 

Read more

 

Monday, September 8th, 2014

DPMI Kenya – Reflections from Abroad

martiza group

- Blog contributed by Maritza Munzon, MPA/IEM ‘15 

I was in Kenya a total of two months; at the time it felt longer, maybe because it’s a slower pace of life in Kisumu, or maybe because compared to a year at MIIS anything else seems to go at a snail’s pace. Whichever the case, slow was nice and much needed. Now looking back it seems like it all went by in a blur, I can’t believe how much I saw and experienced in two short months, while still having time to cook, read for fun and watch the World Cup every night! The DPMI training was intense of course, but nothing short of what is to be expected from a MIIS workshop, except that it was longer (10 days). This meant 8 hours a day of group work, charting, mapping, learning new tools and immediately applying them. We mostly failed at implementing the tools properly, but a great deal was learned from correcting our mistakes. I can now say that I am no expert at program design, but I know how to tackle the task of designing a program.

maritza obama grandparentsOur guide/mentor/program liaison, Rose Waringa, is a multitasking superwomen, she did a great job of taking care of us in and out of Kisumu. On the weekends we were taken to explore the local sites, it was great to get out of Kisumu and leave the books behind for a bit. There is LOTS of natural beauty near town and I feel fortunate to have taken a walk through Kakamega Forest, taken a boat ride on the biggest lake in the world (Lake Victoria) and visited President Obama’s paternal grandmother! Never thought I’d get to do any of it, let alone the last part!

Click here to read more

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

TEAM PERU: Is it right for YOU?

 

The Who, What, When, Where, Why & How!
TeamPeru_201415 copy

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Research Fellowship with Institute for Economics & Peace

Economics and Peace

The Institute for Economics and Peace is searching for a full-time Research Fellow to join their research team at their headquarters in Sydney,  Australia. Click here to download full position description. 

A Research Fellow will conduct research on topics related to the Global Peace Index, peace economics, development studies and peace and conflict studies.

Application Deadline: August 28th, 2014

Selection Criteria: 

1. Master’s degree (PhD an advantage) in a combination of economics and/or statistics, international
relations or other social sciences discipline.
2. Minimum of three to five years professional experience conducting empirical research and
quantitative data analysis specifically related to a combination of social sciences, development
studies, economics, statistics and peace and conflict studies.
3. Experience working with governmental and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on peace
economics, peace and conflict studies, and international development issues.
4. Experience handling large datasets and knowledge of R, SPSS, STATA, and other related econometric
packages is required. Ability to write code for R, SPSS or STATA and advanced Microsoft Excel skills.
5. Track record of demonstrable analytical and data visualisation skills.
6. Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Competence to undertake research assignments
and project manage teams with minimal supervision.

Applications to: CV and cover letter addressing the selection criteria and desired personal qualities to Lucie
Paleckova on info@economicsandpeace.org
Deadline for applications: 28 August, 2014
Website: www.economicsandpeace.org, www.visionofhumanity.org

Friday, August 15th, 2014

USAID Releases guide to Strengthening Civil Society Through Social Media

303627-SMGuide4CSO-1_0

 

Social Networking: A Guide to Strengthening Civil Society through Social Media has been developed as a reference guide for civil society organizations (CSOs) working in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development and its implementing partners in advancing their critical missions. In line with the USAID Strategy on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (June 2013), this manual is designed as a blueprint for CSOs to:

• Integrate and use technology to promote democracy, human rights and governance;
• Utilize social media to support greater citizen participation and transparent political
processes; and
• Strengthen mutual accountability among CSOs, government institutions and
citizens by creating real-time and direct interaction and organizing.

Social media operations are most effective when they are strategically incorporated as part of an organization’s outreach, program design and implementation, and monitoring and evaluation efforts. With this in mind, the guide is intended as a local capacity building tool to strengthen the ability of entire organizations, their staff and members to deliver greater impact. This guide (Version 1, 2014), presents an overview of the most widely-used and accessible

social media tools. Future manuals will capture developments in the social media.

Social Networking: A Guide to Strengthening Civil Society through Social Media includes interactive features such
as links to multimedia content, websites and workouts to help civil society organizations engage and share information.
View the flipbook and download a PDF version at www.usaid.gov/SMGuide4CSO.  Use #SMGuide4

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Job Openings in Policy Research and Data Analysis

kroc_logo

Policy Studies, Research Associate

Open Society Foundations

Open Data Analyst

Research Associate in Policy Studies, Kroc Institute, University of Notre Dame

The Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame seeks applications for the position of Research Associate in Policy Studies.  The Research Associate will work closely with the Director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute on research projects, curriculum development, and organizing research and education events both at Notre Dame and elsewhere.

Application deadline: August 8th

Open Data Analyst, Open Society Foundations, London or New York

The CODEX program seeks to leverage a wide range of open (and sometimes not-so-open) information relating to the extraction of oil, gas, and mineral resources in developing countries. The purpose of the work is to demonstrate, using innovative techniques and creative approaches to data-storytelling, how open data can be a powerful tool in the fight against mismanagement and plunder of natural resource wealth in the world’s poorest countries. This work would constitute a contribution to the growing field of “Open Government.”

Application deadline: August 17th

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Courage Under Fire: An Intimate Look at UN Peacekeeping

UNA-USA – Nationwide conference call on Wednesday, August 6 at 2 p.m. ET

with

Ken Payumo
Chief of the Peacekeeping Operations Support Section for the Department of Safety and Security, United Nations

Wednesday, August 6, 2 p.m. ET

U.S./Canada Dial-in: 866-454-4208
Passcode: 8136862

Please RSVP via email to membership@unausa.org.

What do you do when you are up against a government trying to harm its own people? As men with guns tried to enter the UN camp in Bor, South Sudan, Ken Payumo, a civilian officer in charge, stood up to the South Sudanese military when 12,000 refugees fled to the UN base for safety. His brave actions are thought to have saved thousands of lives.

Join us for a conversation with Mr. Payumo, who will provide a closer look at the day-to-day challenges of UN peacekeeping and give an update on the current crisis in South Sudan.

About our speaker:

Ken Payumo is currently the Chief of the Peacekeeping Operations Support Section for the Department of Safety and Security. This section is responsible for overseeing the security of all UN peacekeeping missions. Having more than 14 years of experience in the United Nations, Mr. Payumo’s UN service includes that of Legal and Policy Advisor, United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET); Political Officer, Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)/Asia Middle East Division (AMED); Mission Management Officer (DPKO Police Division), and most recently Head of Office for Unity and later Jonglei states, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Prior to the UN, Mr. Payumo had served as a police officer in the New York City Police Department. Mr. Payumo is a citizen of the United States of America and was born in New York City.

-Text taken directly from e-mail from UNA-USA Membership membership@unausa.org

 

 

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

U.S. TIP Grant Solicitation for research on Trafficking in Persons

 

Email from TIP Office Public Outreach [TIPOutreach@state.gov]USA

U.S. Department of State

Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

 Competitive Grant Solicitation for Research on Trafficking in Persons in Supply Chains in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons announces an open competition for funding of one or more projects to answer the following research question:  How do supply chains that touch sub-Saharan Africa operate and intersect with trafficking in persons, and prevent trafficking in sub-Saharan Africa?

Using the results of this research question, the successful applicant will develop a highly detailed typology across sectors, commodities, regions or other subdivisions that become apparent during the research.  The goal of the research is to enable governments and businesses to identify risks and best practices of programs, policies, and laws to combat those risks.

The request for proposals is posted on www.grantsolutions.gov and www.grants.gov under funding opportunity number AT-ATC-14-009.  To be considered for funding, proposals must be submitted by Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

U.S.-based and foreign non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), public international organizations (PIOs), and institutions of higher education are eligible to apply.

 

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Tesla Pitch Continued: Cobalt, Graphite and Lithium

Peace, Trade, and Development Students Visit Tesla

Peace, Trade, and Development Students Visit Tesla

Last week the Peace Trade and Development (PTD) students met with Tesla’s global trade team at the factory in Fremont. The students were there to offer their pitch to the Tesla Challenge which called for proposals on sourcing raw materials for the new Gigafactory. In addition to the pitch session, the students were treated to lunch and a VIP tour of the Tesla factory, an impressive and re-purposed building conveniently situated in a California Free Trade Zone. “I was treating the presentation like a final exam, but when it came time to present, I had realized that we were speaking to real individuals with genuine concerns about their long-term acquisition of critical minerals. This wasn’t a quiz–my team had done in-depth research, provided a reasonable strategy, and were ready to have a conversation about alternatives.” -  Shruti Korada, PTD summer 2014 student What was the best part of the Tesla challenge?  Well, that’s subjective but things definitely got intriguing when one team suggested sourcing Lithium from the moon and another proposed a corporate-backed coup d’etat… Learn more about the PTD program via: go.miis.edu/ptd.

Monday, July 28th, 2014

DPMI: A learning journey

Josh Fleming (MA IPS '15) participates in a facilitation exercise during the second week of DPMI Monterey this June.

Josh Fleming (MA IPS ’15) participates in a facilitation exercise during the second week of DPMI Monterey this June.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had heard repeatedly on campus that DPMI (Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation) is one of the most useful courses you can take. I found this hard to believe at first, but now I agree. If you haven’t taken this leadership training in international development project management and social change then you should reconsider.

You will walk away from the DPMI training having learned some ground-breaking and ‘tried and true’ tools to solving your next problem, motivating your staff or making your next big partnership. Tools that break down these processes  into quantifiable, qualifiable methods to be used at a given moment or throughout the lifespan of a project.

If you are a non-profit guru, a development practitioner in training, or a social change maker then you will notice, quickly, that these tools and capacities that DPMI finds so important are actually pretty important. This is how USAID, and other major non-profit employers do it, and whether you like it or not USAID often sets the standard. Additionally, from the United Nations to grassroots organizations, from CSR departments to State department recruiters–most are looking for project management skills. DPMI fits them nicely into the longest three weeks of your life (Yes, I’ve thrown in a bit of sarcasm). It’s worth it though. I implore you to find one job posting that doesn’t ask for project management skills.

Click here to read more

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Incoming MPA Student Reaches-out to Faculty To Develop Ultimate International Development Summer Reading List!

The Ultimate MIIS Reading List

The Ultimate MIIS Reading List

Returning to school after some time away from academia is a precious challenge. However being in school is also a commodity. While most of my undergraduate peers are beginning their careers, perhaps even starting to put down roots, graduate students choose to go back to school in order to further their education and get closer to their career goals. As a recently accepted Master of Public Administration (MPA) student at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS), I understand the initial fears and concerns students may have upon starting a new program. It has been about four months since I received the good news and I have had plenty of time to determine how I feel about attending MIIS in the fall. Although I am overall excited and grateful, I am honestly a bit nervous. Seeing that my academic skills seemed rusty I took it upon myself to email the MPA program faculty requesting ideas, readings, books, articles, and any other resource I should look at before classes start in August. Unsurprisingly, the faculty was supportive and accommodating. The following is a list of 18 recommended readings from Monterey Institute MPA and MAIPS faculty:

  1. Take a look online at William Arrocha’s and Nuket Khardam’s syllabi for their development theory courses here at MIIS.
  2. Study and absorb UNDP’s concept of human development.
  3. Browse the last ten years of the World Bank’s World Development Report.
  4. The Anti-Politics Machine by James Ferguson
  5. Ideas for Development by Robert Chambers
  6. Provocations for Development by Robert Chambers
  7. The Honor Code by Kwame Appiah
  8. Capital by Thomas Piketty (Editor’s Note: The GSIPM Dean may take you out to lunch if you read every word of this 600-page monster!)
  9. The Tyranny of Experts by William Easterly
  10. Social Physics by Alex Pentland
  11. Humble Enquiry by Edgar Schein
  12. Power of Development by Jonathon Crush
  13. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  14. The Routes of Man by Ted Conover
  15. Why Nations Fail by Daren Acemoglu
  16. Encountering Development by Arturo Escobar
  17.  “Organizational Assessment: a Framework for Improving Performance” (Free book available here http://www.idrc.ca/openebooks/998-4/).
  18. To get more immersed in policy, review the articles in https://www.project-syndicate.org/ (This website publishes policy concerns and ideas of leading global thinkers and policymakers).

After taking a look at this list, it became apparent that in order to succeed at MIIS, students must be engaged and passionate about their programs. Without a passion and thirst for knowledge, completing a graduate degree program would be an insurmountable task. Incoming MIIS students may be a bit hesitant or nervous about the challenge ahead. Although these feelings are natural, it is necessary to rise above, be proactive and start to materialize your short and long-term goals. MIIS provides the resources and opportunities; it is up to us, the incoming graduate students to bring the passion and innovation. It is time to start preparing and planning for a bright future here at MIIS. About the Author: Chris Callaghan is an incoming Master of Public Administration (MPA) Candidate for the fall 2014 semester. He is a graduate of the University of California Santa Cruz.

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

DPMI in DC – Cultivating Innovative Agents of Social Change!

This post contributed by Kelly Quackenbush, MPA candidate ‘15

I find myself in a very familiar place: An airport. As a current MIIS student and former Peace Corps volunteer, the fact that airports are familiar to me is surely no shocker. The airport I am in today happens to be Reagan International, just a quick metro ride from the exciting, even intoxicating city of Washington, DC, where I have just spent three incredible weeks with an incredibly diverse and inspiring group of people.

That’s right, I was at DPMI DC, building my network and learning practical tools and concepts for development work from some of the most highly respected professionals in the field. As someone in her 30s who has already been involved with development work, I initially wondered if this training was for me. It was. It was also for the recent college grads, and the current development workers. One participant, who works in the social responsibility department of his company, told me this was “the best training his work had ever sent him to.”

Click here to read more

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Alex Amling IPSS Cambodia

From posting these blogs to writing them! 

 

IPSS in Cambodia

It seems like ages that I was working at the GSIPM front desk, driving my boss and other staff “insane” with my preparation-related anxieties and emotional outbursts for my IPSS applications. I am sure they were as much relieved as I was when the Cambodia Office of The Asia Foundation approved my application.

Today, 93F/62% humidity (and climbing!), Cambodia feels already like home and it’s only been 7 weeks. Why does it feel like home? When I came back to Phnom Penh from a weekend visit to Siem Reap a few weeks ago, I was sitting at the back of a motorbike taxi driving me home from the bus station. I was directing him, and I got this strange feeling of coming home. I knew my way around, recognized buildings and streets. Anybody slightly familiar with Phnom Penh knows that the streets in this city are a nightmare. House numbers do not make any sense. The only way to communicate where you are is you or a building in relation to a street intersecting. You get the hang of it pretty quickly: “Hey, I live at Street 278, close to street 143, third building on the left, next to a school. Our house has a green iron gate. Walk east towards the Olympic Stadium if you get lost and call me.”  Or, “my work is on Street 242, between Monivong Blvd and Street 63.” I communicate with motorbike taxis and tuk tuk drivers the same way, “Just head towards the Royal Palace, I will show you.” Fascinating!

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It was scary to hop on a motorbike at first but now I have a bike. It is a lot of fun to bike through Phnom Penh especially on the weekends when traffic is slow. Most of the time, however, it feels like committing suicide when I merge into the traffic. There are no apparent rules, except for one: Be reckless and inch your way forward at all cost! This is particularly evident at traffic lights when the time is ticking down. At 10 seconds, you can feel the vibe of hundreds of motorbike drivers around you, getting itchy, accelerating – vroom vroom –  and rolling forward inch by inch, hitting your tire, and releasing a bunch of exhaust fumes into your face. Not that it will do anything for them – and it certainly does not do anything for me except speeding up the decay of my inner organs – but it is hilarious to watch. Then the traffic light hits 3 seconds. Oh boy! The patience has come to a sudden death, an invisible conductor begins to direct the honking concert and the chaos unfolds. The bus coming straight at you, no problem. People here can manoeuver very well. There is also a panacea for this: drafting behind a big SUV or within a group of 10 motorbikes which are forcing their way through traffic and I am good to go. Or, change lanes to the opposite side and wait on the sidewalk (the 3 or 4 in this city that actually earn the name sidewalk) and take any opportunity to make a left turn even though
the traffic light for the left turn lane is still red. I am afraid I have to re-learn how to drive when I come back to the US.

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MIISmafia reunion in Phnom Penh from left: MPA alumna Alex Murga, IPSS Candidate Alexandra Amling, IPS alumni Meg Fukuzawa and Robin Narcisso.

I was very fortunate when I got here because the arm of the MIIS Mafia reaches very far. During my preparations, I bombarded two MIIS alumni and friends working and living in Phnom Penh with hundreds of questions. We are currently four MIIS alumni because the fourth rejoined in March. They can take credit for having made my stay here so comfortable and relaxed. The first day, we went out to a local market and despite signs of a culture shock for me, my friend’s nonchalant demeanor made walking the streets of Phnom Penh almost normal. Thanks to them, I have come to love Phnom Penh very quickly.

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Cambodia is host to a plethora of NGOs, both local and international. Any non-Khmer person you meet on the streets introduces him/herself as “I am working for XYZ.” There is an obvious “invasion” of French people in Cambodia, and then, of course, the Aussies who openly call Southeast Asia their backyard. Honestly, however, Australia is the backbone of many projects here and the biggest donor. If it wasn’t for their support, many things in Cambodia would still not work very well. Not to advocate donor dependency or dismiss foreign aid as something inherently bad, the work that’s being done in Cambodia is incredible. The country is changing rapidly, economically and socially. Just the structure is still limping and has not caught up yet.

My work for TAF (yes, acronyms and abbreviations are not just a MIIS specialty!) is very challenging and inspiring. The first-hand experience of the “real thing” is amazing. The NGO field is so diverse and development has many facets. Networking is fantastic and I have met so many interesting people with very diverse backgrounds. It is an eye opener for the different possibilities and niches out there.

I will be working on a project on Intimate Partner Violence which is quite severe in the Asia-Pacific region with current studies indicating very high prevalence rates.7 Going beyond the nominative aspects of focusing on attitudes towards acceptance of violence against women, I will support a project that will look at the macro-level. I already participated in a workshop from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs,
experiencing the dynamics between donors and recipients. I am very excited to work on a project that is contributing to tackling such a serious problem.

Coming from a strictly academic and research heavy background, I have not been oblivious to the technical hurdles of policy design, implementation and evaluation, but working with people in this field makes the rather abstract discussions in a Policy Analysis class a lot more tangible.6 That being said, I have finally made my way to
Asia after all these years and, as my wonderful Australian coworker put it the other day, I am “finally becoming important.”

I am growing on many levels with IPSS. It is a good start for navigating the abyss of career development, applying knowledge and learning to know who you are.

 

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

If I could change one thing in the world….

GSIPM is pleased to introduce a new blog series – One Change (#onechange).  The series will be a collection of multimedia stories featuring staff, faculty, and students, all given their answer to the question “If I could make one change in the world, it would look like this….”

Our first GSIPM faculty member to be a part of this series is Kent Glenzer, the Associate Professor (MPA/MBA) and Acting Program Chair for Master’s in Public Administration.  After many years working with non-profits all over the world, Kent became an instructor so that he could, “help students avoid the mistakes my generational colleagues and I made.”  In this #onechange video, Kent highlights the importance and effectiveness of long-term goal setting for organizations.

Please be sure to add your reactions to Kent’s video in the comments section below!

Do you have one change in mind? Submit your #onechange stories to: professional.dev@miis.edu