So a few folks have been asking me about some of the work I've been doing recently with Conflict Dynamics, so I'll update you (because it's largely the reason I've not been updating as much recently).
So I'm a consultant for the boss on two projects, the first of which I've been spending a lot of time on (and will through March), and the second I'll be working on a lot more later. The first project is work on Children in Armed Conflict (CAC), where we are generally trying to help end recruitment of children as soldiers and other violations during armed conflicts (the second is on conflict resolution in Sudan, which is a years-ongoing project that I am only really briefly helping on). Our work is actually with the Canadian government, whose delegation heads the Group of Friends, a 30-or-so-delegate union of nations specifically dedicated to the CAC problem. We have been working for some time on (still proprietary) research on how to eventually craft a UN Security Council resolution to increase the (frankly, pretty terrible) effectiveness of deterrent measures. The work is going along quite well, and I think I might be able to chat more about it during the summer (whence we might spend some time in New York making sure the resolution the Canadians write is pushed through).
Much of our research requires working with the folks that actually operate on the ground level. On Wednesday, I hopped a bus down to New York and then took the metro to the UN. The plaza was surprisingly busy, and I wondered what they were actually up to. But I actually met with my boss and a few UN workers that had spent a lot of time in the field, and presented our work so far. They were impressed, and gave us some good recommendations for moving forward. To be honest, that was really it.
We got out of meeting a bit late, and missed our second meeting, so I got to wander around a bit (I picked up a UN pin for my next visit). I made sure I was wearing a UN-blue-and-white striped shirt with a UN-blue-and-white paisley tie, so I looked the part. I think some tourists even took photos of me as I left the main UN building.
But the experience was pretty exhilarating nonetheless, and I may try applying to work at the US Mission to the UN for the fall. Additionally, I might be heading down next week to help the Boss chat with the Russians and Chinese and preempt any vetoes coming from them this summer.
More to come.