Big Trip to DC

For the last seven days our team has been in Washington DC to share our work and lay the foundation for the sixth annual Millennium Campus Conference taking place this October at Lynn University.

On Wednesday, three of our Millennium FellowsNetia McCray (from Mbadika/MIT), Felix Ruano (from Changefire/Harvard), and Chelsea Higgins(from Global Medical Brigades/BU) joined us at the Jenzabar Annual Meeting (JAM) to share their organizations’ work.  The Fellows are each receiving Student Leadership Awards from our partners The Jenzabar Foundation, enabling their organizations to carry out work this summer and winter.  

The next day we headed to the State Department.  Netia, Felix, Abigail Kelble (our Director of Programs), Caitlin Rogers (our Programs Associate for Year One of the Fellowship), John Beahm (MCN Board Member and Executive Director of The Jenzabar Foundation) and I met with our longtime ally Amanda Batt in IIP.  IIP is the Bureau that has sent me overseas to Bosnia and Herzegovina (2011) and Morocco (2013).  Later that day we met with Tomicah Tillemann, Senior Advisor to Secretary Kerry on Civil Society and Emerging Democracies.  Tomicah has championed a new initiative, Diplomacy Lab, which is sourcing research and innovation projects from the State Department to be taken on by university students and faculty.  Exciting concept!  And as if the trip to State wasn't enough, as we were taking a group photo outside, Terry Davidson introduced himself to us.  Terry is the Recruitment Outreach Branch Chief at the State Department; a perfect introduction given how many student leaders across our network have interest in the foreign service.

We also met with Dominique Hazzard from our partners at GlobeMed, who is focused on diversity and inclusion within the GlobeMed network.  This is cutting edge work in our space (learn more here about their work and partnership with USAID) and Dominique and GlobeMed will collaborate with us as we develop content for MCC 2014 this fall.

For some, this was also their first trip to Washington.  We made sure to check out the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall and the White House.  A special walk through history.

After the rest of the team departed, I stuck around DC and met with Hillary Maxwell Beightel from Dell.  Hillary has been in this space for 14 years and had some incredibly helpful insights on how we can ensure our policy paper gains the most traction in Washington post-conference.  I also returned to the State Department for a meeting coordinated by Amanda with Caron De Mars (Director of the Global Entrepreneurship Program) and Jared Butto from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  I learned about State's role in promoting entrepreneurship and international students coming to US universities.  We also brainstormed some of the best ways to ensure youth leaders from across the globe can be active participants in the policy paper and conference this fall.

It is crucial for us to align the efforts of the student leaders across our national network with the development and diplomacy efforts led by the US government and partners.  This was an exciting step forward, and we are looking forward to building upon these conversations.