Assessing Needs and Emerging Themes

This week, I finished the survey of existing rule of law-related webinars. The final product included 825 webinars that came from hundreds of sources around the web. My superviser and I touched base on Monday to discuss the next phase of my summer work - designing a needs-based assessment of rule of law academics and practitioners so that INPROL can create the most useful, relevant webinar series possible for its members.

In our meeting, my supervisor gave me a crash course in project design. Since I have never designed a project for a major organization before, I was grateful for the lesson and eager to try my hand at it.

The only thing certain about the needs-based assessment at this point is that it will go out via online survey to be assessible to INPROL members around the world. Beyond that, I have great latitude in determining what to include, how long to make the survey, and how to best ask questions to gage our members' needs the most effectively. It is very similar to analysis I have done in more traditionally legal settings. Every question and word must be scrutinized to achieve a certain purpose, so it has been an interesting task to fit our goals into language that will give us the information we need to design a successful webinar series. 

On Tuesday, I experienced the first high security situation since beginning my internship at USIP. The Somali prime minister came for a meeting. While the security situation didn't affect my work day beyond me having to relocate my car in the USIP parking garage, it was exciting to be a floor below such a high profile figure. 

I also attended a brownbag that my two supervisors (both William & Mary Law alums) gave on two conferences they recently attended - the 13th UN Crime Congress in Doha and a UNDP rule of law conference in New York. Both highlighted emerging trends in the rule of law and some problems that come with them - such as the difficulty of moving the conversation beyond mere theory into the realm of practical application. They also noted some progress - like the fact that the UN is putting these rule of law issues on the table. They then opened it up for general discussion among the brownbag attendees, which was of course interesting since we were in a room full of "thought leaders." It was also amazing to see my two supervisors, individuals who were in my shoes at William & Mary Law School just a few years ago, leading such discussion. 

Throughout the weeks, I've enjoyed interacting with the USIP research assistants more. From eating lunch together on USIP's rooftop terrace to instituting "On Wednesdays We Wear Black" (a spinoff of "Mean Girls" to commemorate a research assistant friend whose last week at USIP was last week), they're great, talented people: 

I also celebrated my birthday on Tuesday in Georgetown near the water at Farmers Fishers Bakers. 

Then I traveled home to Tennessee for my sister's wedding on Saturday. While I love working abroad, getting to be there for my sister without an exorbitant plane ticket was a huge perk of working stateside this summer.

Isn't she gorgeous? Quite an eventful week to say the least.