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  • JMac 2:00 pm on November 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: acronyms, , correspondence, email, , peace, ,   


    If you have worked or are currently working for the U.S. government or are being supervised by a U.S. government employee (as I am), you may be familiar with the acronym obsession.  Occasionally I receive emails that are almost entirely in acronyms.

    For example, just a few weeks ago I received this in my inbox:  “FYSA – wonder if POTUS will discuss this with Pres. SBY?”  The translation:  For your situational awareness, I wonder if the president of the U.S. will discuss this with the president of Indonesia (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono).  The most entertaining part about the acronym POTUS is that it consists of the same amount of letters as “Obama,” and therefore has almost no use outside of a habit of using acronyms wherever possible!

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  • JMac 3:43 pm on November 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Asia Society, China, Elliott School, , , , Japan, Korea, peace, , Sigur Center, Southeast Asia   

    What DC Has to Offer: Attending Events Across Town 

    One of the more interesting aspects of my internship is the occasional need that I attend events around DC that are relevant to my Fellow’s research project.  There are so many opportunities for learning in the city that are provided to the public for free if you register (and sometimes even if you don’t).  My boss likes to say an event is a success if they serve you lunch!  (He’s kidding, of course).

    Last week my boss attended an event on U.S.-Southeast Asia relations at the East-West Center on L St. while I went to the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs to attend a panel on President Obama’s recent trip to Asia.

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  • JMac 8:10 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: agenda, , friendly, , , outline, peace, , , task list, ,   

    A Few Months In, Helpful Tips 

    So now that I’ve been a research assistant at the USIP for a few months I feel like I can finally offer a few tips to the current or future fellow RA.  For a short time I was learning the ropes and getting acquainted with the organization, the position, and the people.  Then for a few weeks I was diving into the work, reading everything I could find on the topic I’d be studying until at the end of every day I was saturated with knowledge on Indonesia.  I read everything from security strategy and policy to current events and geography.  Then once I felt more comfortable with the region and the topic I began to delve deeper, trying to identify patterns, opinions, and policy strategies.

    I have hit comfortable days where I’ve spent the day reading and absorbing information, frustrating days where every research trail leads to a dead-end, and high energy days where I’ve found everything I set out to find and finish the day still trying to print or organize all the information I gathered.

    At this point I’d like to present a few helpful suggestions that I would write to myself or anyone in a similar position, which I have gathered over the past two months.

    Here they are:

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  • JMac 3:09 pm on November 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , hip-hop, , Islam, , peace, perspective, , young people   

    The Lens we Look Through 

     So last week was fairly busy at school, which left me little time to blog.  The job is going well, in the sense that I remain both busy and interested.  I have taken up the job of summarizing the Indonesian news when I get in to the office, first thing in the morning. 

    My favorite comment beneath a story about Obama in the Jakarta Globe last week expressed support for our President’s assertiveness in acting for the benefit of the poor by proclaiming him, “a leopard not a water buffalo.”  I’ve come to enjoy even the slightest uniqueness in perspective.

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  • JMac 2:11 pm on October 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , genocide, , , inequality, , peace, police, , ,   

    Believing in the Work 

    I think that every intern hopes that they will be provided the opportunity to contribute their work to something worthwhile, something that they really believe in and hope to one day pursue as a career.

    I know that in my case I have wanted to work toward a more peaceful global community for a long time.  Ever since the first time I learned that there was worldwide inequality, and that people suffered at the hands of their global neighbors and community members I have been interested in finding a solution.  Upon my entry into the study of foreign affairs, I didn’t know that governments do not always act in the best interest of their people, I didn’t know the depths of cruelty some people are capable of, or how the suffering of repeated injustice can inspire such violence in response.  I didn’t know that terror was a weapon, that some people have no government, no police, and no army to protect them, or that there were even so many conflicting viewpoints in existence in the world.

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  • JMac 5:15 pm on October 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bullpen, , discussion, Fellow, , , peace, peace studies, , ,   

    A Day in the Bullpen 

    In baseball, the bullpen (or simply the pen) is the area where relief pitchers warm-up before entering a game.  On my first day of work, the Jennings Randolph Fellow I assist referred to the area where all the Research Assistants sit as “the bullpen.”  He was referring to the usage of the term to describe a large, open work area consisting of desks with no separating walls and private offices, but in a way the baseball reference is fairly accurate too.

    Indeed we Research Assistants are all really just relief pitchers waiting for our chance to get in the game, quietly researching, making observations, and taking notes until we are needed in the field.  The starting pitcher also warms up in the bullpen, much like the Fellows come in to chat with us about their projects periodically before they go back out into the world to create their publications and speeches.

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  • JMac 6:16 pm on October 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , attire, economics, economies, hosting event, panelists, peace, , , Western Business   

    What is Western Business Attire? Event Hosting at USIP 

    So last week was my first experience with helping to host an event at the USIP!  The Institute regularly holds public (and private) events on varying issues of international peace and security, on topics ranging from the Iraqi elections to the politics of separation in South Sudan.  I’ve attended events at the USIP before, but this week was my first time attending one from the inside.

    I volunteered my Wednesday morning at the request of a colleague who needed help setting up her panelist discussion on Post Conflict Economics.  The distinguished speakers included Ambassador Charles Ries, Executive Vice President of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and Former Minister for Economic Affairs and Coordinator for Economic Transition in Iraq, Graciana del Castillo, Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University, and author of “Rebuilding War-Torn States,” Gary Milante, a Research Economist for the World Bank (see his blog here), Julia Roig, Executive Director at Partners for a Democratic Change, and Patrick Doherty, Director of the Smart Strategy Initiative at the New America Foundation.  The panel speakers seemed a well-rounded group in their assortment of opinions and suggestions.  I particularly enjoyed the friendly banter about which aspects of a new or recovering economy are most important at the outset, and the approaches most likely to lead to long-term success.  Intelligent people who are not in perfect agreement is always the mark of a good discussion.

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  • JMac 6:11 pm on September 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: peace, ,   

    Introducing… a new Research Assistant! 

    Hello to the blog-reading and blog-writing community at AU!  I’m happy to be joining the team– this is my first blog about my new position as a research assistant at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

    Whether or not you are interested in peace studies (and no, we do not hold hands and join together in song at the USIP), you may be interested to read on about the experiences that will follow if:  you are thinking of one day being a research assistant, you work or want to work downtown, you like to commiserate about the metro, you also eat vegan food on your lunch break (I do), or perhaps you are willing to be convinced that the study of conflict resolution is a worthwhile use of our time.

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  • Zack Adams 8:49 pm on January 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: applying, peace, resumes,   

    How’d I Get Here? 

    In response to a comment, I’ll mention how I got here. An advertisement for an open internship in the Children and Youth program of the Search for Common Ground was sent out on the SIS listserv sometime in December (naturally, in the midst of finals and the associated confusion; I must thank fellow blogger Mohsin for goading me to apply). As requested, I submitted my resume and cover letter via email and waited. I know that positions here tend to attract some significant numbers of applicants, so I gave them some time before attempting a follow-up.

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    • FB 7:32 pm on February 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      That’s a great story of how one door may close but another could open! Thanks for sharing it!

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