For J-term 2015, we had 70 students go to five countries on four continents.
Sonia Esquibel, who was on the Peru Practicum on small-scale farming, sent me the wonderful photo of Team Peru (to the right).
She wrote the following about her journey, “I have really enjoyed working with students from MIIS, MIDD, AASD, and Professor Phil Murphy. Surveying and interviewing rural farmers and working with quantitative and qualitative data have been great. In terms of skill acquisition, this trip is amazing. I am super grateful for all of the Team Peru folk, thanks for all your patience and humor!”
Most of the Team Peru cohort came back this past Saturday, just two days before classes started.
Stephanie Nelson, was on the El Salvador Practicum on community development, wrote, “This place forces you to reexamine all that you hold within. It’s only when you look inside the eyes of another human being, that you begin to feel sense of raw commonality with that person and truly discover what it means to be standing in the intersection of pain, and hope.”
Judie Henderson, who attended the Design, Partnering, Management, and Innovation (DPMI) training at Partners in Health in Rwanda, wrote, “I am moved by the resilience of the Rwandan people.” She had much more to say, of course, and I urge those of you on campus to ask her about it if you are curious.
Dr. Jan Black led a group of students to Cuba through a Global Exchange-organized trip. Dr. Black commented on some of the shouts the group received in the streets expressing good will to Americans.
“It has been interesting to me to see that the media in the US has discussed this opening as such a major change to Cuba, but Cuba has been changing all along. Every year is different than the year before. Fortunately, there has been continuity too, and we’ve met with some of the folks who have helped Cuba keep moving ahead while keeping the best of what has been gained through the Revolution. We met this time with a former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chief of Mission to the United States who had been with the leadership since the Revolution, but the most exciting meeting always is with Connor Gorry, a MIIS alumna who is now a medical journalist and one of the foremost authorities on the Cuban healthcare system,” shared Dr. Black.
The Philippines Practicum on “Peacebuilding in Mindanao” kept a very up-to-date blog here. One blogger said, “Earlier in the day we were in a southwestern region of Mindanao called the Sultan Kudarat province and it became a very special learning experience. We met with some of the elected officials and village elders and they gave us a pretty thorough briefing on the state of affairs within their barangay. They appeared especially proud when they spoke of some of the new ideas that are being implemented to with the goal of empowering the local farmers with additional market options for their produce.”
Local Action in Monterey!
Those that stayed in Monterey were very busy as well. Thirty-four classes and workshops were in session this January and I had the opportunity to talk to students from a few of them.
26 people from 11 countries attended DPMI Monterey, which lasted three weeks and ended last Friday. The group had the opportunity to work closely with local homeless service providers as part of one of their projects. Tom Gray said, “As a Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies student, despite the great reviews I had heard about DPMI, I had doubts about how useful the program would be for my career prospects. However, after going through the program, I am now sure I made the right decision – DPMI teaches a range of different tools and techniques that I expect to be just as useful in the US government as they are in the development field. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their project design and evaluation skills, regardless of their intended career path.”
Students in the International Marine Law Seminar collectively shared that “The class was an ocean of knowledge in a short period of time, but the experience was extremely valuable (pun intended).” They also added that they were grateful to learn from someone as admired as IUCN High Seas Policy Advisor, Kristina Gjerde. The photo above is by Chelsea Jordan, and is of an elusive rainbow spout of a humpback whale that the group got to see on their whale-watching trip at the conclusion of their course. Apparently a whale breached mere yards from their boat, close enough to make the captain swear.
Frontier Market Scouts, also known as FMS, had six workshops In January. Erina McWilliam-Lopez, the Social Impact Programs Director, sent me the photo below and added, “We just finished the first official CSIL version of the FMS training in Monterey. The cohort of 32 were diverse not only in terms of nationalities but also in terms of perspectives and skillsets. FMS participants enjoyed a surprise visit from impact investor Ron Cordes of the Cordes Foundation. Throughout the two-week training, the group experienced an accelerated learning curve during sessions focused on due diligence for impact investing, innovative business model design, organizational culture, and impact metrics systems scoping. But, they also found time for cooking an amazing pop-up Indian meal together, salsa dancing, and beautiful Big Sur hiking. It was a graceful mix of business with a touch of fun. “
About 30 students participated in Econ Bootcamp with Prof. Moyara Ruehsen and Jason Scorse. Chanel Bell said “It was a great opportunity for me to learn the fundamentals of economics. Micro provided me with a good understanding about how economics work in everyday life and macro gave me the basic understanding of how trade works between countries.”
Overall it was a very busy and productive J-term. If you have any quotes or photos from your J-term experience that you would like to share, please submit them to me, Katya Gamolsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.