Monday was an easy day at the office, and it was tax day/emancipation day in DC! DC government put on fireworks in Freedom Plaza downtown and it was a beautiful night for it. It was 75 all night and clear skies. Matt Hillsberg photography is below.
Later on tuesday, I was involved in setting up for the G8 experts group conference. Every year, the country hosting the G8 conference switches; the last night the U.S. hosted was 2004 and now it is our time again. The big summit is in May at Camp David, but numerous political and ministerial meetings have been held at State and around DC already. After setting up, I performed escort duty to bring around 20 or so delegates to the delegates lounge for an opening reception. I got to interact with a few of them and receive some free dinner.
On Wednesday and Thursday i officially helped out the G8 experts on protection on civilians conference. A U.S. led initiative, the U.S. announced at the last G8 that this would be the topic of the annual experts conference (part of the larger G8). It was all in English, and representatives from the UN and EU were there as well. I was involved in doing administrative work, sitting in on the meetings, and handling the AV equipment. All the interns who helped out also got to go to the 8th floor (where the official rooms are) and have lunch. There is a balcony outside of one of the dining rooms and it overlooks DC towards the south; you could see the Pentagon and Virginia clearly. I also got to go into the Treaty Room (outside the Secretary's office) which was absolutely stunning. All in all it was a great experience. I clearly saw how technical and cumbersome multilateral diplomacy was, but also the merits of working in concert with other states to achieve an objective. Though people debated on a few sentences for about 45 minutes, just having that conversation about an issue (and eventually it being incorporated into that states' policy) is significant.
On Friday I was playing catch up on a lot of work, but it was a beautiful day. A group of us went out to the food trucks which was delicious (Dorothy Moon's Gourmet Burgers). I unfortunately had to say goodbye to some staff as they would be out of the office all next week on conferences.
This weekend was relaxing. On Saturday I went to Hillwood Estates and Gardens which was absolutely beautiful. I took a ton of pictures, which I'll leave you all with (the last one is my favorite). Another spectacular week, and being here has been a big personal and professional development experience.
I am a bit of a changed man.
P.S. Goodluck with finals Shannon! :)