Thursday, November 10, 2011

And so we begin...

After months of planning and preparation, the real work is about to being! Each participant in IEDP is assigned to two groups: a policy group and a logistics committee.

Policy groups
This year, we have five groups that will study broadly-defined topics related to development in Colombia. Each group must identify a specific issue within its topic area, research that issue thoroughly and present its findings to the class in a 90-minute presentation. The groups will then conduct field interviews with relevant stakeholders during our week-long trip to Colombia in February. All of the groups' findings and analyses will be compiled in comprehensive reports and published on this blog in April.

The topics for Colombia 2012 are:
  • human rights (with a focus on displaced persons)
  • environmental policy
  • security and the impact of conflict on development (with a focus on drug control)
  • trade (or an optional focus on industry development)
  • social policy (a choice of either health or education policy)
We will report back in a few weeks to update you on each group's specific research focus. But for now, get an idea of issues and questions that have been studied in past IEDPs by checking out the syllabus from IEDP Grenada.

Coordinating and planning our trip to Colombia will require the input of every IEDP participant. There are four committees to split the work load:
  • Finance Committee: writes grant proposals to fund the trip, organizes fundraising events, establishes contacts across campus to cultivate financial opportunities and resources, writes thank yous to grantors, maintains organized records, debriefs donors after the trip. Chair: Stephanie Swierczek
  • Logistics Committee: arranges air travel and lodging, coordinates in-country travel, monitors safety and security concerns and administrative requirements, acquires local cell phones, writes a cultural booklet for participants, manages passport and visa logistics, as well as health insurance and the emergency contacts list. Chair: Jessica Presley
  • Contacts Committee: aggregates lists of potential contacts for in-person interviews from the various policy groups, contacts parties for availability, assembles trip agenda, identifies translation needs, ensures that final policy reports are shared with in-country stakeholders. Chair: Harlyn Pacheco
  • Documentation Committee: writes syllabus and finalizes curriculum based on policy groups' recommendations, compile background materials and readings, coordinate publicity, document the course and trip with pictures and/or video, organize the final presentation after the trip. Chair: Lindsay Minnema

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The gang's all here!

The board is excited to welcome 21 talented U-M graduate students to the IEDP team! It's a diverse group -- representing not only the Ford School, but also the School of Natural Resources, Urban Planning, Public Health, and the law and business schools. We are looking forward to making new friends, learning from each other and sharing in this great experience.

IEDP is more than the class and trip, however. Since its inception, the program has been intended as an opportunity for the whole school community to learn about and engage with a developing country's social and economic policies. To that end, we are planning some great speakers and events during winter semester that will be open to the public. Check our Facebook page regularly for announcements!