The week before July 4th, my fellow interns and I were sent to D.C. to interview experts in international development with hopes that they could bring provide new insights into our research. Due to the sequester, PKSOI can only provide us with day trips to Washington D.C. In other circumstances, we would be accommodated with a hotel room since our interviews are in consecutive days. But alas…

In any case, we arrived in D.C.. Our first meeting was with Alliance for Peacebuilding, an institution that encourages sustainable peace and security worldwide. Employees introduced themselves as peacebuilders. A noun that I was not accustomed to. I had not distinguished the difference between a developer and a peacebuilder, until employees introduced themselves as so. Interestingly enough, as the day went by this stuck with me during other interviews. Their point of view was very positive. When I asked them if the international development is actually providing aid and if there has been actual improvement, they answered yes. Perhaps from a standpoint of a peace builder it is so.

After Alliance for Peacebuilding, we continued to USAID. USAID is an organization that gears towards the development of a region, socially and economically. I saw these employees as developers not as peacebuilders. When asked whether the international aid has truly improved the world and if it is even possible, they answered with a bleak response. They told us that countries do not involve themselves with other countries for no reason. Everything is politically driven and linked. While I knew this, to hear it from such a high ranking official from USAID, made everything seem much more cynical.

That day reminded me how important and interesting perspectives can be. The peacebuilder, knowing the hard work ahead of her, keeps a positive outlook on things. The developer, knowing the hard work ahead of her, knows that complications will occur to hinder her progress. Even the nouns themselves, peacebuilder and developer, are separated into two categories of connotations. One is lighter and the other is darker, respectively.

Just a point I thought was interesting.


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