After almost three weeks at USIP, I think I'm really coming to understand the organization. It seems like USIP is going through a big transformation. Not only are they moving to their own, very fancy building over by the State Department, they are also undergoing a shift in their organizational mission.
Historically, USIP was a traditional think tank. Now programming is becoming a main focus. Personally, I feel that the practical application of the knowledge resources USIP has been collecting over the years is a definite step in the right direction. I'm proud of USIP for taking the plunge into programming, I hope the transition goes smoothly.
I'm still working on the consolidated response. It's at the stage where I need input from the higher-ups and they are very busy with a few pressing deadlines and such. So, while I wait to progress on that, I've been working on gathering preliminary information for developing a training course on human rights and humanitarian law. I also do little research projects for other INPROL queries and a little cite checking for a new document. It keeps me busy, and that's what I like.
On top of all that, I'm getting responses from practitioners and scholars I emailed about getting their input. They have all been eager to help and some have come back with amazingly detailed responses. My worry now is that I'll have too much information for the consolidated response and it will no longer be possible to call it consolidated.
A couple days ago, we got a very interesting application for membership to INPROL. It was from a man who called himself Sir ___ and proclaimed himself to be the Ambassador to Italy from the Independent Microstate of Long Island. Thus launched a flurry of investigation into the "merits" of the applicant's request for membership. We found the "microstate's" official website (ilination.net) and spent some time imagining what sort of people would be involved with this concept, and what their daily lives might be like. In the end, we had to deny membership. I wonder what queries they would have posted if they had become members...