Anna Phillips, IPD/NPTS ’20


Group visit to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, taking notes as we listened to the presenter explain the bank’s model of “Lean, Clean, and Green”.

Going to East Asia provided a unique opportunity to develop a familiarity in conducting field research, while also practicing my diplomacy skills through my role as one of over twenty representatives of the students at MIIS. We had the chance to meet and talk with experts in the fields we were all researching, meaning that I was able to learn not only more about the relationship between Russia and Japan, but also about other subjects about which I previously knew little to nothing. We spoke with representatives from different academic institutions like Peking University, trade-influenced businesses and offices like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and government entities such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of both countries, all of which helped open my eyes to some of the foreign policy concerns impacting that region.

This trip also helped me better understand the complexities involved in these countries’ relationships with different entities, as well as between each other. Many of these understandings came from the discussions we had with our field experts; however, I also found the historical and cultural sights we visited to be incredibly valuable. Especially in the case of the stops we made to historically controversial places, such as Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo and Tiananmen Square in Beijing, it helped to see in person what influences diplomatic relations in this region of the world.

This was an amazing opportunity to see in person how foreign policy initiatives play out in an increasingly influential part of the world in terms of trade, security, and diplomatic relations in general.

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