A Swedish Summer

Today is July 4, and instead of watching fireworks and eating hot dogs, we are living a Swedish summer. Because Sweden is so far north, it has long, cold winters with little sun. This means that when the summer sun is finally combined with summer warmth, the Swedish come out in force. The week leading up to Misdommar was chilly and rainy, but this week is going to be sunny and quite warm. Swedes take the opportunity to lay on a blanket in a park, fishing in the lake, or barbequing with friends. My friend and I plan to join them after work today by having a picnic in the park. A fellow intern isis having his 21st birthday this week, and we plan to visit an outdoor Thai restaurant in celebration. What he doesn't know is that we are also treating him to a brunch cruise on Sunday. It seems that whereever you look, someone is enjoying the summer by slowing down, taking a deep breath of the remarkeably clean air, and enjoying the outdoors. I wish that it was more like that at home.

This week, the rest of the team returned from a long trip to Jakarta, Indonesia, where they held not only a training session for constitution building practitioners, but also launched the handbook to about a dozen of those pracitioners in order to get advice and feedback on what will become the finished product. As I mentioned in my previous post, the interns from our team had quite a bit of work to do while they were gone, and I am happy to report that we did in fact finish many of the country profiles and were able to begin the glossary and the additional tools sections of the handbook as requested. However, that doesn't mean the work has ended. Last week, we also met our newest intern, a German student named Ann-Katrin. With her addition to the team, it is now time for us to begin editing, fact-checking, and peer-reviewing the country profiles, and when they are finished, we must submit them for inclusion on the website. We have also recieved some feedback on the profiles from the participants of the Jakarta meetings, many of whom were from the selected countries. The inclusion of their input will add some information from inside sources as to the constitutional challenges and controversies on the ground. Many of our team members will be leaving again next week for a U.N.-sponsored training session in New York, so we hope to get some more feedback from them when they return.