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DPMI: A learning journey

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.

Great minds have come together to put into action a training that is contemporary, engaging and most of all – useful. Hopefully you are the individual who wants to see development mean the promotion of a “system of catalysts” that truly allows for the NGO, the establishment, and the individual to meet human need.

DPMI supports creating catalysts that transcend national boundaries and cultural norms in order to positively influence behaviors allowing us to collectively reach our full developmental potential. Either way, after DPMI you will at least better understand what the problem is you are trying to address before trying your visionary solution.

Learn more about the DPMI training at http://go.miis.edu/dpmi. The next trainings are offered in Monterey and Rwinkwavu, Rwanda in January 2015.

About the Author: Josh Fleming is a MA in International Policy Studies student at the Monterey Institute. He took the DPMI training May 19-June 6, 2014. He served as a DPMI graduate assistant coordinator in May and currently works as a graduate assistant in the Graduate School of International Policy and Management.

Incoming MPA Student Reaches-out to Faculty To Develop Ultimate International Development Summer 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.

FMS Field Placements and DPMI Plus: Taking the MIIS experience to the world

Immersive learning

This summer, the name of the Monterey Institute has been heard in over 15 countries in 5 continents as 27 fellows are participating in a series of immersive learning experiences.  Each of those placements have been ensured thanks to MIIS’ immersive learning options offered to participants of the Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) and, the newly renamed, Design, Partnering, Management & Innovation (DPMI) program, in its optional practicum – also known as DPMI Plus.

FMS provide participants with a specialized 2-week training for those interested in a career in social enterprise management and impact investing. The training happens twice a year in Monterey and Amsterdam. After the training, participants have the option to apply their recently acquired knowledge in a 2-12 month placement in which the fellows are expected to help conceptualize a business idea, develop a business plan and an entrepreneurial team, provide due diligence, obtain investment capital, and scale businesses. This summer, the program have helped place 14 fellows who are supporting social entrepreneurship ventures in Cameroon, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, Hungary, the Netherlands, Rwanda and the United States. To learn more about FMS Practicum Placements visit the FMS Blog.

DPMI is a professional certificate training program that prepares participants for a career in managing international development projects.  The training has several offerings in the winter and summer in Monterey, Washington, DC, Rwanda and Kenya. After the training, MIIS-enrolled participants have the option to complete a 3-9 month internship in which they apply DPMI skills to benefit the host organization, while earning academic training towards their degree program. This summer, the program have placed 13 fellows in internships supporting development ventures in Burundi, Colombia, Fiji, Kenya, Nicaragua, Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda and the United States. For the full list of DPMI Plus Fellows and placements, click here.

Both DPMI Plus and FMS, are just two of the many Immersive Learning options that MIIS offers to students of all Degree Programs in order to foster learning through real-world situations. Besides, the unique opportunity that represents interacting with real clients and beneficiaries, participants also develop their inter-cultural competencies while creating memories that will sure last for a life-time.

Applications for FMS and DPMI are currently open for their Winter 2015 sessions. To apply for these programs, please visit:

DPMI: Apply Here!

FMS: Apply Here!

PTD Breaking Ground for Local Development at the Homeless Garden Project

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Last Friday, PTD students were able to actively experience Development, one of the three pillars of the Peace Trade and Development program.  Their first site visit was at the Homeless Garden Project in Santa Cruz. The Homeless Garden Project is a non-profit and an organic farm that provides job training, transitional employment and support services to the homeless.  The peaceful atmosphere and creative projects offered a healing and transformational environment.  Many of Santa Cruz’s homeless population come to the garden to relax, receive a meal and even work for minimum wage.

The Peace Trade and Development students spent the morning touring the site and weeding rows of plants.  They also joined community volunteers and farm employees for lunch—an organic and vegan meal sourced mostly from the garden. After lunch the students had a blast washing dishes.

ptd dishes

Click here to find out more about the Peace Trade and Development program.

http://www.miis.edu/academics/short/trade-development

The IPSS Experience: Jia Ren

The Sun sets behind the port of Oakland

The International Professional Semester Service (IPSS) program has provided hundreds of MIIS graduates with the opportunity to head start their professional career, while serving in an international organization as junior professional staff member.  Some fellows have even used the IPSS experience to catapult themselves to become subject matter experts, as it is the case of Jia Ren (MAIPS Trade, Investment & Development 2014).

For her placement at the Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI), Jia contributed to a report entitled: Trade in the Bay Area: Investment and Global Financial Flows. The work, led by BACEI and sponsored by HSBC Bank USA, analyzed the trade, investment and commercial relations between the Bay Area and its major global trading partners, especially China, focusing on informing business leaders and other decision-makers about the potential for increased business growth in the region.

International Professional Service Semester (IPSS) is an immersive learning experience, integrating academic work with professional experience.  Students serve as junior professional staff members in an international organization while producing specific deliverables for academic credit.  The IPSS program is offered through the Graduate School of International Policy and Management (GSIPM) during the spring semester. For more information about IPSS please visit: go.miis.edu/ipss

The Tesla Pitch

MIIS PTD students meet with Tesla to  pitch ideas for the new battery.

Our friends from Tesla visited the MIIS campus last week. They started off the day by meeting with the Peace, Trade, and Development (PTD) summer program students. PTD students learned about what it takes to snag a job at Tesla and work under the driving force of Elon Musk’s vision. This is just the beginning of the MIIS-Tesla exchange. Next week, PTD students will visit the Tesla Gigafactory in Fremont where they will present ideas for the next electric car battery innovation.

The Challenge

The efficiency of the car battery is the lifeblood of moving Tesla forward. PTD students are posed with the Gigafactory challenge question – what are the optimal raw materials to source for battery cell manufacturing?  To arrive at a solid pitch, students will analyze a broad scope of factors, including:

  • From where and from whom can the materials be sourced?
  • What locations are optimal from a customs duty/tax and logistics cost perspective?
  • “Outside the box” ideas and key factors to consider in the sourcing decision

Interested in hearing about how the pitch goes? Stay tuned for an update in the next few days. In the meantime, you can enjoy this video!

International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) Accepting applications now!

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is now accepting applications for their International Affairs Fellowship (IAF). 

Designed to assist mid-career scholars and professionals in advancing their analytic capabilities and broadening their foreign policy experience the International Affairs Fellowship aims to strengthen career development by helping outstanding individuals acquire and apply foreign policy skills beyond the scope of their professional and scholarly achievements.

This distinguished 12-month fellowship, launched in 1967, is different from traditional internship/fellowship experiences in that the program contrasts professional experiences fellows obtain through their twelve-month appointment. Selected fellows from academia and the private sector spend fellowship tenures in public service and policy-oriented settings, while government officials spend their tenures in a scholarly atmosphere free from operational pressure. 

“CFR awards approximately ten fellowships annually to highly accomplished individuals who have a capacity for independent work and who are eager to undertake serious foreign policy analysis. Approximately half of the selected IAFs each year spend their tenures working full-time in government; the remaining half are placed at academic institutions, think tanks, or nonprofit organizations. CFR’s Fellowship Affairs Office assists all fellows in finding a suitable affiliation for the year.” – www.cfr.org

How to Apply: MIIS students should apply online directly with CRF

Interested candidates who meet the program’s eligibility requirements can apply online between July 1 and October 31 on an annual basis.

Eligibility

The IAF Program is only open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents between the ages of twenty-seven and thirty-five who are eligible to work in the United States. CFR does not sponsor for visas. While a PhD is not a requirement, selected fellows generally hold an advanced degree and possess a strong record of work experience as well as a firm grounding in the field of foreign policy. The program does not fund pre- or postdoctoral research, work toward a degree, or the completion of projects for which substantial progress has been made prior to the fellowship period.

Fellowship Award

The duration of the fellowship is twelve months, preferably beginning in September. The program awards a stipend of $85,000. Fellows are considered independent contractors rather than employees of CFR, and are not eligible for employment benefits, including health insurance.

Contact CFR

For more information, please visit www.cfr.org/fellowships, or contact fellowships@cfr.org or 212.434.9740.

 

 

StartingBloc: Eleven fantastic opportunities for change-makers

According to StartingBloc these are 11 opportunities that should be considered for those who consider themselves change-makers:

 1. StartBloc NYC: The NY Institute happens on Aug. 14 and applications close on July 10 at midnight (EDT). Another session in Washington, DC is scheduled for October 2014.

2. ProInspire Fellowship: ProInspire help private-sector professionals transition to the public sector through a 1-year fellows program and placement at a non-profit.

3. Atlas Service Corps: Atlas Corps finds leaders from emerging economies and places them in 12-18 months positions at US-based non-profits.

4. ThinkImpact Winter Institutes: ThinkImpact takes students to rural villages in Africa and South America for 2-3 weeks to work on and experience social innovation first-hand.

5. New Sector Alliance: 11-month Fellowship for social sector leaders, provides $20K stipend and a work placement in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco or the Twin Cities.

6. CORO Fellowship in Public Affairs: Demanding, 9-month, city-based leadership program that provides multiple field placements with access to public-sector leaders.

7. City Year: Now in its 25th year, City Year Fellows work directly with students for 11-month assignments in high-poverty communities around the country.

8. Kiva Fellows: Fellows are placed as volunteers for 4-12 months with local microfinance organizations in 70 countries around the world.

9. Emerge America: A 7-month training program designed to get more Democratic women candidates elected to public office across the country.

10. SOROS Fellowship: Up to $45,000 in grants to support 2 years of graduate studies for new Americans (green card, naturalized citizens).

11. SOCAP: The Social Capital Markets conference in San Francisco, from Sep 2-5. Great community, worth attending even just the extra-curricular events.

Announcing IPSS Placement Presentations on August 19

For 3 to 6 months, each of the 2014 IPSS (International Professional Service Semester) participants have engaged in a series of internships and short term positions. These experiences have allowed them to utilize the concepts and tools learned in previous semesters, in a real professional setting. From working towards building resilience of coastal areas in Monterey county to eradicating polio in rural India, each of the IPSS participants have had the unique opportunity to use their skills, capacities and passion to “Be the solution” of the world’s more pressing issues.

On August 19, the twenty-three 2014 IPSS participants will have the opportunity to present the work they have been carrying out previous months to the MIIS Community. Each presentation will be 15 minutes long and it would be either in-person, over Skype or through an engaging and creative video. After the presentation, each participant will have the chance to answer questions or to take some feedback from faculty, staff and other members of the MIIS community.

Further information on times and location for each of the presentations can be found here (locations and times might change).

Even though all presentations are open to the MIIS Community at large, seating is limited, so we encourage anyone interested in attending to RSVP by sending a short note to ipss@miis.edu indicating the session(s) they would like to attend.

International Professional Service Semester (IPSS) is an immersive learning experience, integrating academic work with professional experience.  Students serve as junior professional staff members in an international organization while producing specific deliverables for academic credit.  The IPSS program is offered through the Graduate School of International Policy and Management (GSIPM) during the spring semester. For more information about IPSS please visit: go.miis.edu/ipss

22 Tips for Living in a New Country

For some, the FMS field assignment is a first exposure to living and working in an emerging market.

MIIS and FMS Alumna Danielle Steer Shares Tips on Living and Working Abroad

Over the course of the next two months, 21 Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) Fellows will be heading into emerging markets as scouts, business development consultants, and impact investing associates. FMS fellows come from a variety of backgrounds and have very diverse international experiences.  For some, the FMS field placement is a first exposure to living and working in an emerging market.

Ready, Set, Travel!

As an alumna of the Monterey Institute MPA program, I can’t begin to count the number of experiences my colleagues and I have shared about being a development practitioner including “how to cope” and “methods for success”.

I decided to enlist the help of fellow FMS and Monterey Institute alumni to give our fellows advice for living and working in the developing world. Their collective advice stems from experience in Nigeria, Cameroon, Rwanda, Peru, Ecuador, Philippines, and India.

Tips for Living and Working in an Emerging Economy

  • Talk to your taxi driver!  They have some of the best suggestions for local places to check out and more generally just some great stories about life.
  • Get close to a family or two, especially if you’re in a more rural area.  This will give you so much more insight than just hanging with the expat crew.  Have meals with these people a lot.  They will also look out for you.
  • Invest in a good fan that oscillates, embrace crowded bus rides, and keep a good sense of humor.
  • It’s okay to be homesick. There may be moments when you long for the safety of “home.”  Find a way to bring a piece of home with you to self-sooth when need be (i.e. a DVD, favorite book, cooking spices and ingredients, or Siracha).
  • When family and friends visit have them bring you items from “home” like cheddar, mac & cheese boxes, and socks.
  • Take part in four things that can expedite building relationships – playing sports, music/dancing, food, & drinking (albeit not to excess or to the point where you cannot make sound judgments).
  • Be prepared for reverse culture shock.  Sure, there will be some initial culture shock when you move out of your home country.  But no one ever prepared me for the reverse culture shock.  It might hit you when you order a coffee in Swahili at Starbucks or when you are overly cautious trying to cross the street in your hometown.  If you can, get in touch with other people who might be experiencing it at the same time or who can sympathize.  That community of people “who get it” when you are stunned by consistent electricity or hot running water is comforting. 
Sierra Leone Peacebuilding J-Term Trip

Sierra Leone Peacebuilding J-Term Trip

Money & Safety

  • In a taxi, lock both back doors. Sometimes people try to open them while you are sitting in traffic.
  • Keep your money in two places on you. If a thief tries to steal from you, pull out your stack with less money and say that’s all you have.
  • Keep $50 USD in small bills stashed away in your luggage.
  • Try to find out before arriving at your assignment whether or not credit/debit cards are commonly accepted.  More often than not, you’ll need to carry cash, so finding an ATM in a well-lit, secure location is key.
  • Put together a thoughtful budget before you leave.  How much are you willing and/or expecting to pay for housing each month?  Groceries?  It adds up quick, and if you’re traveling with a fixed amount of cash in the bank, you don’t want to find yourself in a sticky financial situation without a backup plan.
  • A steripen is a great small investment. You can use it anywhere and it saves a bunch of money as opposed to buying bottled water.  It’s also good for the environment.
  • If you are a single (read: unmarried) female, regardless of having a boyfriend or not, be prepared to frequently explain your lack of husband.  (Side note: You’re not likely to convince an inquiring man to change his stance on the matter, but don’t let it keep you from sharing your point of view.  “Some of my female colleagues chose to wear fake wedding rings to avoid this, but I personally didn’t feel right pretending to be married just to avoid these conversations.”)
  • Keep your bag or backpack in front of you down by your legs or on your lap when traveling or at a restaurant.
Taksi

Lock the doors!

Keeping in Touch

  • A picture is worth a thousand words.  Take as many pictures as you can of your community, your work, and your travels but know when to be discreet either out of respect or for your own safety.  It might feel vain, but ask people to take pictures of you in the field as well. It makes for better storytelling and helps your family and friends to better understand what you did. Not to mention when you’re feeling nostalgic upon your return, it’s nice to look back.
  • Post about your travels via social media. Someone in your network will always have a good recommendation for a connection, place to eat, or site to visit.

Work Life

  • Patience is a virtue: In Peru, everyone is late, and people have different professional standards. In the end these are all cultural differences and shouldn’t be taken personally.
  • Take your colleagues out to lunch!  You’ll get a taste for local cuisine, build relationships, and hopefully pick up on some local slang!
Team Peru- Youth in Cacchin

Team Peru- Youth in Cacchin

Final Advice

  • During rainy season, don’t walk through flood water in the street. There may be a hole in the ground that you don’t see.
  • Don’t be scared to rock a fanny pack!
  • Never travel without the following:

                              Pocket knife & sewing kit                                                                      
                              Lighter
                              Small padlock
                              Charcoal pills (for tummy aches and intestinal issues)
                              Calendula cream (for mosquito bites and burns)
                              Duct tape (It really fixes everything!)

Have any intriguing travel tips or stories of your own? Please share them via: professional.dev@miis.edu