To continue the Mom-friendliness, that same weekend my darling sister and her boyfriend came down from New York and we all spent the weekend gallivanting around! We ate at Keren (an Eritrean restaurant, mentioned earlier on this blog), visited the National Cathedral, took long walks around town, got Sakuramen, then tapas, then frozen custard, then stumbled upon an IMF/World Bank protest (to be discussed in an upcoming post), a labyrinth (very close to SAIS actually) and ended our weekend with brunch at Mandu. So remember, this Sunday, call your mother, grandmother, sister, aunt or anyone really that’s taught you how to love and laugh and let them know how much you care about them.
In honor of Mother’s Day coming up soon, here’s the most Mom-friendly (1 of 2 actually) post on this blog. About two weeks ago, my mom visited all the way from sunny California. My mom loves flowers and gardening, so our first stop was the Botanic Gardens. Our favorites included: Tulsi or Holy Basil, Old Man Cactus, the deep purple/wine red tulips (I’m guessing Pantone 222 PC or 209 PC), the terrarium, the yellow orchids and the twin tulip!
So one of the big projects I am working on right now is my conflict management capstone. Thanks to the initiative and hard work of the Global Security and Conflict Management Club on campus, the conflict management program has introduced a new experimental practicum, the International Policy Practicum. The folks in GSCM wanted to an opportunity for students to gain more practical experience with a conflict management organization. I was assigned to work with the International Peace and Security Institute to design a two and half day negotiation simulation for their annual Bologna Symposium. I’ve been working with them on conflict analysis and mapping and we’ve found post-its to be extremely useful in the simulation design process! When I’m not busy plotting the hypothetical takeover of tyrannical governments, I’m frolicking around, looking for the perfect tulip and eating as much as possible. My new favorite place (also very close to SAIS) is Bistro Du Coin, a charming French cafe. I discovered that I love Moules-frites and that I need to get to France sometime soon - pictured is the fabulous brunch I shared with friends on Saturday. Also pictured are a few photos from the annual Japanese festival - my favorite were they tiny, meticulously arranged potted plants, similar to bonsai trees.
Last Friday, the SAIS Global Women in Leadership Conference took place, bringing together students from international relations and experts in the public, private and multilateral sectors to discuss “A New Economic Landscape: Promoting Women in Emerging Markets.” I was part of an amazing team of SAIS students who put together this incredible event. Dean Vali Nasr opened the conference by expressing the … indispensable role of women in leadership…” Our keynote speaker, Ms. Sylvia Ann Hewlett (author of Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets: Why Women Are the Solution) spoke about the hidden talent in emerging countries, of women who are trailblazing and are stepping up as leaders. Following an incredible keynote, the conference was broken into four panel discussions:Creating New Channels: Markets and Institutions, Mindsets Panel, Empowering Individuals: Networks, Norms, and Resources, Case Studies in Solution Strategies. The day was dynamic and insightful, bringing together much needed perspectives from all sectors. We ended the day at a beautiful evening reception at the Embassy of Finland. This year’s conference may be over, but planning has already begun for next year - we hope you’ll be involved! (Thank you Sam Lee for the beautiful photos!)
One of the best ways of celebrating the arrival of spring is the Indian tradition of Holi! I had the opportunity to celebrate two weekends ago with my lovely friends. (Thank you to Akshatvishal Chaturvedi for taking these great photos!)
Here are the religious origins of Holi:
Holi also celebrates Krishna, and the legend of Holika and Prahlad. Some believe the origin of the festival lies with Krishna who was very mischievous as a young boy and threw coloured water over the gopis (milkmaids) This developed into the practical jokes and games of Holi.The story of Prahlad is seen to symbolise good overcoming evil and is why traditionally bonfires are lit at Holi. Prahlad was a prince. His father, the king wanted everyone in his kingdom to worship him. But Prahlad refused and worshipped Lord Vishnu instead. The king’s sister Holika, who was supposed to be immune to fire, tricked her nephew Prahlad into sitting on her lap in a bonfire in order to destroy him. But because she was using her powers for evil, the plan failed and Prahlad emerged from the fire unharmed, while Holika was devoured by the flames. In some parts of India effigies of Holika are burnt on the fire. Ashes from Holi bonfires are thought to bring good luck.
Holi is a colourful festival, with dancing, singing, and throwing of powder paint and coloured water.Hindus have fun by smearing each other with paint and throwing coloured water at each other, all done in a spirit of celebration.
Ahh, it’s been a while since I last posted, but so much has happened! Where do I begin, let’s see: the Snowquester (or lack of snowquester), spring break, which included a trip to NY for my big sister’s 30th birthday party (1920s and Great Gatsby themed of course) and a few days in sunny CA with my parents (pictured is my absolute favorite breakfast - a huge German Pancake with lemon and powdered sugar a the Pancake House), a visit from my cousin, Holi (in the next post!) and the arrival of spring (more like a preview of summer, today is 90 Fahrenheit) and the Cherry Blossoms in D.C.!
Despite the rain, wind and overall gloom, I had a lot of bright and happy times this past week. I had a great Valentines Day with Michael, we made delicious seafood paella and chocolate cardamon cookies. On Friday I saw The Evens, a “protest punk duo” at St. Stephens Church. Saturday, my high school self swooned over Desaparecidos at the 9:30 Club. For all of you Latin American Studies Concentrators or Latin American history buffs, Desaparecidos means “the disappeared” in Spanish and refers to the political dissidents who were abducted or detained by the Argentinian government during the Dirty War of the 1970s. Sunday, I went to the protest against the Keystone XL Pipeline at the National Mall. An estimated 30,000 climate, environmental and indigenous activists from all backgrounds, faiths and beliefs took to the streets in a peaceful manner. It was amazing to be apart of the largest anti-climate change rally in American history.
I started off my international weekend by participating in the African Diaspora Association and Africa Club Fashion Show at Happy Hour on Friday. Saturday, I went to the Hirrshorn Museum to see Ai Weiwei’s exhibit entitled “According to What?”. Any China Studies student at SAIS, or anyone at SAIS for that matter, should really see this exhibit before it ends on February 24th. Ai Weiwei cleverly uses materials (such as tea and freshwater pearls) and products produced in China to critique the Chinese government and modernization. I was astounded by the large scale in which he works- the most beautiful peace was the Cube Light. But what is truly astounding and admirable about Ai Weiwei is the way his art and politics are so intertwined. The other exhibits at the Hirshhorn, pieces from their permanent collection, are also worth checking out - my favorites, the huge wax butter sculpture and Alexander Calder’s “Creature” mobile… After that, I headed to one of my favorite cafes, Paul, to enjoy a delicious French baguette sandwich and coffee. And today, I’m off to write a policy memo about the diversification of Canada’s oil and natural gas trading partners!
This is the beginning of my last week in Delhi and it’s off to a great start. I had some lunch this past weekend with SAIS alum at Khan Market, pictured is our lovely Key Lime Pie. This morning, CDP and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Energy (FICCI) held a joint Workshop on Water Disclosure for Industries. We heard from industry experts, investment bankers and World Bankers, a member of the Planning Commission of the Government of India and environmentalists about the importance of water usage reporting and disclosure. After that, a coworker and I took a nice walk over to a stepwell, baoli in Hindi. Stepwells date as far back as 600 C.E. and were used for storing water, but now they’ve just become a quiet, peaceful refuge to sit and admire.
Ah what a weekend I had in Delhi! I had to start off this set with a picture of my absolute favorite Indian ice cream treat: Cassata. It is usually 3 or four layers of ice cream, all different flavors, with a thin slice of cake at the bottom and is typically topped with nuts, dried fruit and maybe some kind of frosting or cream. My goal was to eat one Cassata a day, but my current rate is depressingly low, I’ll have to try the next time I’m in India…Anyway, after a busy workweek at CDP, I connected with some of my current classmates and SAIS alum living and working in Delhi! We made our way to Hauz Khas Village - a sort of hot spot for young working professionals and students and enjoyed some great food and even better conversations. Sunday, I went to a picnic at Lodhi Park with one of my coworkers and ended up in a music video (really that’s what happened). That night I ended up at the Habitat Center to celebrate Lohri , on the eve of the winter solstice. It was a beautiful night of bonfires, classical and folk music and delicious food!