It is day two of my first international conference and it has already been an interesting and productive experience. Mostly it is nice to be at a conference where Americans are really in the minority, it is one thing to surmise what 'The other' thinks. Sometimes I worry that some subtleties of insights get lost in translation but on the whole even though many of the ideas seem similar to those already debated in the US (the need for participation etc.) it seems important that they get applied, analyzed and presented by people from the country even if they come to the same conclusion. Overall there has been a strong message of the need to deal with the ethics of development, power relations (who is the tech for and why?) and accountability.
On a personal level I have made some preliminary contacts with people who will be in Washington, DC that I am excited about and I have several people that I would like to talk to about opportunities for myself or SPIA. Some organizations and initiatives that have interested me so far are TechChange, FarmRadio, CITEGO, MAPS climate adaptation scenarios, UNESCO Future Earth, and two programs offered by EPFL this fall on development project management and disaster response - both involve long distance learning, field work in India, and then a personal project.
More thoughts later.....
- MacKenzie Rawcliffe