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Constant Food for Thought

March 23, 2010

Individual liberty is the true modern liberty. Political liberty is its guarantee, consequently political liberty is indispensable. But to ask the peoples of our day to sacrifice, like those of the past, the whole of their individual liberty to political liberty, is the surest means of detaching them from the former and, once this result has been achieved, it would be only too easy to deprive them of the latter.

The danger of modern liberty is that, absorbed in the enjoyment of our private independence, and in the pursuit of our particular interests, we should surrender our right to share in political power too easily.

It is not to happiness alone, it is to self-development that out destiny calls us; and political liberty is the most powerful, the most effective means of self-development that heaven has given us.

– Benjamin Constant, 1819


Communication & Outreach for WIPA

March 15, 2010

I just completed a communications workshop lead by Tom Lansner during the MPA workshop week.  Two clear things relevant to WIPA came out of this course. One, the need for a clear, concise, consistent message, and two, a broadening of WIPA to better include the male students in the MPA.

As WIPA has grown over these last few months, we have worked hard to clearly define our message and how we can better serve the MPA community.  Part of this process meanings moving forward, assessing and reevaluating where we stand.  It has become clear that WIPA needs to better define how it serves the entire MPA community, not just the MPA’s female students.

WIPA has strived to define itself as an organization built on community.  Without a strong, supportive network within the MPA and with our partners we will be unable to meet the objectives of our mission statement.  To build this network we need the participation of and sense of purpose for both men and women.

We are excited about the guest speaker event with Ms. Judith Baroody of the US Embassy Paris on March 26th.  This will not only be an excellent learning opportunity but also help to define the service, outreach and means of contributing to WIPA.  Post-March 26th our focus will shift to community outreach initiatives.  This could be in the form of fostering community within the MPA via coffee breakfasts, through service events in the greater Paris community or other activity that takes us out of the academic routine and into a mindset of community and commitment.  We welcome feedback on how this can be accomplished.

In the meantime, please find a WIPA video that I made post-communications workshop.  RSVP for March 26th at

Organizational Growth: what does this mean for WIPA?

February 15, 2010

I just submitted a “Letter of Inquiry,” the first step in the grant application process, on behalf of WIPA.  Now I have heard the moans and groans of those going through the  grant application process, but this is the first time I have  gotten personally involved.

My first reaction was sheer nervousness: sweaty palms, heart palpitations, the whole nine yards. Its was more the specter of “The Grant Application” than the actual application itself.  Thankfully I decided to start small via an organization called Mama Cash.  It’s an organization that funds women driven initiatives with  extremely clear instructions on how to apply.  A major relief for the first time grant applicant.

That being said, I don’t particularly have high hopes for my grant application.  WIPA is just starting to get its sea-legs and, honestly, my biggest challenge at the moment is developing a consistent membership base.  However, it would be great to eventually get a bit of funding for WIPA so that we could pursue some of our larger objectives.

Ideally, I would love for WIPA to provide small scholarships that could go towards MPA tuition.  These scholarship recipients would embody the core goals of WIPA and would drive the activities of the organization for the coming year.

While we might not be able embark on initiatives of this scale today, other activities like our guest speaker series, are the first step towards growing WIPA to a point where scholarship grants become a reality.

I encourage those of you who are in Paris on March 26th to attend WIPA’s first guest speaker event with Ms. Judith Baroody of the US Embassy in Paris.  You can read Ms. Baroody’s bio on the WIPA website.


WIPA Guest Speaker Event March 26th

February 13, 2010

WIPA is kicking off its Guest Speaker Series on March 26th.  Judith Baroody, Minister Counselor of Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Paris will speak on the history and role of women in the US Foreign Service.  Ms. Baroody exemplifies the objectives and goals of WIPA and we are honored that she has agreed to be our first guest speaker.

Guest speakers like, Ms Baroody are a cornerstone of WIPA’s activites.  WIPA seeks to foster the professional and personal development of all its members.  An integral part of this is being prepared for the international career path ahead.  Women working in an international setting face a series of challenges that they would not necessarily find at home.  Working abroad means that women’s professional and personal lives become closely intertwined, blurring boundaries often without the support networks one would have in a domestic setting.

These challenges can be taken head-on with the support of professional groups like WIPA or by an informed perspective.  By educating women on these challenges and rewards, WIPA members are more prepared for their international based career.  Additionally, WIPA members are able to find support through the relationships established at the MPA or through the WIPA network.

To learn more about the event on March 26th

To learn more about WIPA’s Guest Speaker Series

WIPA website

Women in International Public Affairs (MPA) website launch

February 11, 2010

In October of 2009, I created a Women in International Public Affairs (WIPA) to address issues unique to women pursuing a international public affairs career.  We kicked off the formation of the group with a coffee breakfast.  15 MPA students attended to finalize the mission statement and discuss future initiatives.  The WIPA mission statement was confirmed as,

By providing opportunities for open exchange among current Masters of Public Affairs (MPA) students and MPA alumni, WIPA seeks to raise awareness about the challenges and rewards unique to women working in international public affairs.  As future public policy leaders, members of WIPA work to foster a strong network of alliances among current members, alumni, similar programs in the GPPN and community partners.

The activities of WIPA seek to support this mission statement through various activities that help women to develop professionally and prepare for a future international and/or public affairs based career.

This semester WIPA is busy preparing for Judith Baroody, Minister Counselor of Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Paris, who will speak to the MPA on March 26th.  Ms. Baroody exemplifies the core of WIPA and we are honored that she will be speaking next month.

Become a fan of WIPA on Facebook (WIPA at SciencesPo).  Or join us on the web at  To sign up for our newsletter or to contact us please email

WIPA is pleased to join the fray at MPAVIS and we look forward to regular updates on our activities and developments in the coming months.

Economists Online

February 9, 2010

A very useful new resource for those with an interest in economics has recently launched, providing articles, datasets, and scholarly links geared to please even the most insatiable econogeek. See here for Economists Online.

A little less action, a little more talk?

February 5, 2010

An excellent article with valuable insights into potential alternatives for Afghanistan, by Ahmed Rashid. Rashid makes sense of what negotiations with the Taliban may mean for Afghanistan in the future.

(Article lifted from the blog of David Miliband)