This summer, I am fortunate enough to work at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC. Founded in 1984, USIP works to create a world without violent conflict. The organization coordinates projects around the globe to enhance stability and non-violent conflict resolution. On Monday, I toured the beautiful headquarters and met the gracious, welcoming, and warm staff. It’s both intimidating and inspiring to work with such educated and eloquent professionals.
Within the larger USIP organization, I worked with a special team at the International Network to Promote the Rule of Law. Called INRPOL for short, this global network connects practitioners and fosters important discussion about rule of law reform. You should check it out here.
As I began at USIP, I was conflicted about taking a desk job instead of embarking on adventures in the field. Before law school, I helped implement a pilot of Fulbright Taiwan in rural Taitung County as an English Teaching Assistant. Our first year in Taitung was so successful that the program was renewed and expanded. The experience was immensely rewarding and I missed working closely with administrators, teachers, and community members.
Lucky for me, USIP maintains a vast network of connections in the field. In fact, almost half of the INPROL team is based abroad. On Wednesday, we had a team meeting that brought in members from the UK, from Sweden, and from Afghanistan.
The network is only growing. On Tuesday, we met with 11 Afghan lawyers who had just graduated with LLM degrees from American colleges. It was so inspiring to meet the diverse group who were united by the desire to strengthen rule of law in their country. But the meeting was not purely congratulatory; it was an important exchange of ideas and resources. The students discussed research opportunities, local community reform, and the practicalities of legal reform with representatives from USIP, INROL, the State Department, and USAID. Although I lack the Jason Bourne-like training needed to go to Afghanistan, I took heart that these capable lawyers will be part of our network of change.
Outside of work, I have been walking miles across this historic and vibrant city. I even took a trip on the Metro, despite its dangerous dilapidation. And I visited my favorite place in the city, the Library of Congress!