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  • JMac 3:43 pm on November 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Asia Society, China, Elliott School, , , , Japan, Korea, , Research, 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, , Research, , 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 11:32 pm on October 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , commute, compartmentalize, , , Research, , ,   

    Stress and Strategy 

    This week was a stressful one for me at school.  In addition to the research project on Indonesia I am doing for my internship I have three other research projects assigned this semester for my degree!  Unfortunately they are all in different areas of study, and when all four projects come to the forefront in one week it can be fairly overwhelming.  The important thing I have found that helps me to be both a good worker at work and an efficient student are to only tackle what is in front of me, and try my best to wipe the other projects from my mind.

    One extremely useful thing that I am learning at my internship is how to both follow instructions and take the initiative at the same time.  I don’t think it will ever be useful in a work environment to simply do what is instructed and nothing further, nor will this tactic ever be useful in academia where ingenuity is invaluable.

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

    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 studies, Research, ,   

    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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  • mary714 10:41 pm on June 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: archives, d.c., history, Research   

    Research Research 

    This week I continued my neighborhood research. Researching these neighborhoods has been a bit of challenge, because they are not well known. When I google them sometimes information comes up on websites like Wikipedia, but I am determined to use solid sources so I can produce work that I am proud of. After scouring the internet for reputable sources and getting books from the NBM’s small library, I had had no luck in finding information about the history of Petworth. . My supervisors had mentioned that I was welcome to go to the Washington, DC Historical Society to do research, so I went on Tuesday. The historical society is an easy fifteen minute walk from NBM, so getting there was no problem.

    When I arrived at the building I had to sign in at the front desk. Then when I went upstairs to the library I had to show my driver’s license and get an account. Once I had set that up I went straight to the reference librarian, and asked if she had any suggestions for researching Petworth and the Southwest waterfront, the two areas I decided to focus on for the day. I was expecting her to direct me to some books on D.C. history. However, she pulled out folders full of newspaper clippings relating to the neighborhoods from a file drawer.

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  • 3xpl0r3r 2:11 am on June 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amitav Acharya, ASEAN, governance, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, ISEAS, Leaders of Asia, nationalism, Research, Singapore   

    Singapore! ♫♫♫ 

    My name is Huong Nguyen and I am here at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in Singapore for my internship. I will be assisting Professor Amitav Acharya on his book project on Nationalist leaders of Asia. I enjoy writing on this blog because it allows me to share with you some reflection on my experience abroad and hopefully it will ignite your own interests and lead you to new adventures.

    Why Singapore?

    A graduate student from the School of International Service at American University in Washington DC, I am originally from Vietnam. This trip actually brings me closer to home, as Singapore is only a 3-and-a-half-hour flight from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Try to get this straight- while Singapore is a truly Asian country for its history, culture and social composition, the business working style is very Western and the structure of society, in terms of legal system and urban planning, has been a result of visionary and conscious leadership. As a hub-and-spoke of ASEAN dialogue (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Singapore plays a major role in coordinating cooperation efforts among the diversities of Asian cultures, languages, religions, systems of governance and economies. (More …)

     
  • Mohsin 2:03 am on February 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Grievance, Research,   

    Thank You, Mother Nature 

    Thanks to all the snow, all my work appointments/meetings/events were canceled or postponed. Not one to be dejected, I decided to work from home. That’s right, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

    I conducted a research interview with a former permanent representative to the UN from Pakistan, and our discussion was an interesting, lively conversation as opposed to a research interview. He was very friendly and keeping in mind this interview was off the record, he was more open tosharing his personal insights. From a development perspective, however, I’m not sure if it was all that conducive to what I wanted, but he did touch upon two very interesting concepts I’ve been thinking a lot about recently: grievances and mindsets.

    I think the two are interrelated; grievances can shape the way one thinks (in this example; i.e. Pakistan, negatively). They can tailor one’s mindset into being destructive, and since extremist activities are at the epicenter of my research, I’m trying to understand and delve more into how one can become susceptible to terrorism (I have to be careful here, terrorism can be defined in several different ways). What are the main grievances? How can they be addressed? Are they primarily with the government?

     
    • FB 3:16 pm on February 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Very interesting! This really seems like a terrific internship for you. Do you think you would have done this research interview if you were working on your own paper as opposed to being with an organization?

      • mohsin 11:35 pm on February 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t think so, I’m not sure I would’ve somehow been this resourceful had I not been enjoying the work I was doing.

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