On January 26th I flew to London for the night to take my test for the Presidential Management Fellowship. Being back in London was absolute heaven and I can't wait for next term when I get to spend 8 weeks there. I was barely in London for 24hours, but it was still wonderful
. The test went well, I think, and we'll see in the next 4-5 weeks if I passed it, which would allow me to apply for Fellow's-only jobs with the the Government. Everyone hope for the best! Being back in London also reminded me of what a pain in the butt it is to navigate there, as I got horribly lost trying to find the place the night before. Good thing I did it then rather than the next morning! As I'm sure everyone remembers, there was some concern that I wouldn't be able to get back to Geneva because of a visa issue. Well the Friday before I left we all had to go to the Swiss residency office to apply for residency permits, and got a letter "validating" our stay. But Webster was still concerned that I might not be permitted back into the country from London. So the lawyer and I had to go to the airport to talk with the head of the border police to get his assurance that I would be okay. I'm happy to report that not only did I make it back to Geneva without issue, but that I was never even questioned or needed to show my paper on my return. I actually was questioned more when I was leaving Switzerland than when I got back. Also, while in line at Gatwick in London I was behind several young men who were seeking humanitarian asylum in the UK from Haiti. Very interesting to witness.
The last weekend of January we celebrated Nathan's 30th birthday with a homemade dinner and finished off our last bottles of French wine
. On Saturday morning several of us decided to go out and checkout parts of old town Geneva. We visited Saint Peter's Cathedral and the Chapel of the Maccabees and even climbed to the top of one of the bell towers where there was a spectacular view of Geneva, the Lake and the Water Fountain.
On Thursday Feb 4th we visited the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) for our prosem. The day was spent first with a briefing on the ICRC, a discussion of their founding, and current activities. All very interesting to hear, but unfortunately we couldn't speak with anyone with field experience, so a bit of a disappointment. After lunch we met up with Dr. V, our class professor, who used to work for the ICRC museum as a historian. He then took us on a tour of the museum where we could see the evolution of both the ICRC from its founding in 1863 by Henri Dunount after the Battle of Solfrino, through the 2 world wars and into current work with a lot of Humanitarian Intervention in countries ravaged by civil war. Definitely was an interesting and informative visit.
So all in all, Geneva is going well so far. Next up, a visit to the Swiss Alps for skiing and snow fun!!
Wow, have I ever been remiss in updating. Okay, so, whats been up with me? Well, academically I finally have paper topics picked out for my 2 classes, so now just researching and getting ready to write. The plan is to have drafts of both papers done this week. The Humanitarian Conference is progressing and occurs next week. I'm really looking forward to seeing friends from Leiden and my other cohort mates who can attend. What we need now are more "non-Webster" people to fill the seats, Dr. V has us trying to recruit anyone we know. So, if anyone happens to have connections with anyone who could attend, let me know ;-)