From the Field to the Capitol: The DC Side of Development

In between meetings, Elizabeth Pratt reflects on the work of Eleanor Roosevelt at the FDR Memorial.
In between meetings, Elizabeth Pratt reflects on the work of Eleanor Roosevelt at the FDR Memorial.

Post by Elizabeth Pratt, MBA/MPP candidate ’16

Yesterday, 11 other Luskin students and I wrapped up a fantastic week of meetings with organizations working in international development. From multilateral funders such as the World Bank to contractors such as DAI to research institutes such as the Aspen Institute, our trip provided us with a broad view of what it looks like to work in development in DC.

My interest in international development stems from the years I spent working abroad: between completing my BA and beginning my studies at UCLA, I worked for a year in rural China, a year in semi-rural Tanzania, and three years in Peru, both In the non- and for-profit sectors. My time in these countries gave me a “bug” for living abroad—something that some of our speakers this week in DC actually mentioned having as well—and informed my desire to work in community development after graduation.

This trip was the perfect opportunity for me to explore the many types of organizations that work in development, to see which one(s) might be the best fit for my interests and skill set.  I was surprised to learn that many research organizations do not require their researchers to have PhDs, which offers an additional opportunity to me as an MBA/MPP.  I was also interested to learn about the different perspectives and opinions that staff at each organization held on the most effective ways to go about development; is the key job creation, or social services? Is it strengthening the private sector, or the public sector  Understanding that these sorts of questions are the major debates circulating within the development world is a great insight for me.

I had a great time this week and am so grateful to Professor Steve Commins and Michelle Anderson for organizing the trip, and to all of the organizations who were kind enough to host us. I will certainly be reaching out to many of the contacts I made here in DC for information and advice in the future.

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One thought on “From the Field to the Capitol: The DC Side of Development

  1. Very impressive and extremity well written
    I bet the visit to our nations captital was like an extravagant vacation compared to your living situation in Zambia!

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