Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Maryland, My Maryland

The day began with a transit fail.  I waited for the S class bus to take me down 16th st, but for 15 minutes none came. Then literally 6 arrived, clogging the already trafficked streets.  It took me 30 minutes to get from Mt. Pleasant to U st.

I arrived late, but not too late, to a Sister Cities conference on "Citizen Diplomacy in the New Millennium."  During a panel discussion, I was moved by an example of pd exchange offered by Debora Fajer-Smith, who is the president of the Maryland Sister States Program.  She spoke about the connection between Maryland and the Brazilian State of Rio de Janeiro, and specifically about a school there called "The Maryland School" in Nilopolis.  Apparently, there had been some previous support and connect to the school from Maryland, of which had waxed and waned over the year.  During an exchange, the Maryland state officials were greeted by the students of the Maryland School, whose flag is the Maryland state flag and whose symbol is the Black-Eyed Susan.  I don't think they received a samba version of "Maryland, My Maryland," but perhaps that can be arranged for a future exchange.

I had a nice chat after the conference with Mary Jeffers, a Senior Public Diplomacy Fellow at GW's Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communications.  We chatted about Morocco, where she had been a Public Affairs Counselor.  Interestingly, when I introduced myself, she knew my work.  Apparently, she had assigned something I previously wrote to her class some three weeks prior.  I like the GW PD program all the more.

Now I sit in MLK Library, exercising my virtual office and watching the homeless have animated conversations with their ghosts and demons.


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