Hello.

Are there any fellow SAISers living in Tokyo? I will be going there for work in January. I have a weekend free and wouldn't mind some company to see the sights with.

Happy Holidays. Carrie

Hi Stefan,

Just wanted to say hi and let everyone know that another SAIS alumnus from the class of 95 has moved to NY. After graduation I spent a couple of weeks in Haiti (along with Marguerite Galaty 96) as an election observer for the OAS. The experience on the Ile de la Tortue (probably one of the most isolated parts of Haiti anyone could go to) was quite rewarding, though I must admit that after eating little more than MRE's and cookies for a few days I was ready to head back to Port-au-Prince.

After that I returned to Quito to rejoin the Ecuadorean Foreign Service and stayed there for almost a year. Believe it or not I was even nostalgic for my SAIS days every now and then!

In June of 96 I came to New York to work for the United Nations Secretariat, Office of Legal Affairs, Codification Division; yep, Schreuer and Heighet's courses certainly came in handy for the national competitive exams, so don't throw away your Henkin/Kirgis books!. Incidentally, Moot Court buffs might want to check out the latest information at http://www.kentlaw.edu/ilsa/index.html.

Work is fine. Some assignments, like covering the negotiations for the creation of an international criminal court, are more interesting than others, but there's always something to keep you busy. There are SAISers around here, like Ewen Buchanan (95) who keeps tabs on Iraq's weapons and Andrew Rechtman who lobbies intensely to increase Australia's share of UN procurement contracts. Petra Vospernik (B96) is working with the EC delegation to the UN and has been covering the Security Council (she should have inside info on the recent SG election). We're trying to institutionalize a monthly lunch get together of SAISers in Midtown, so any ideas are welcome. The first meeting took place at a little known restaurant located in the basement of the Indonesian Mission to the UN (another tax free haven!).

On Jan. 9, between 18h00-20h00, there is going to be a reception for SAIS alumni in the NY area. I'll pass on some more info in a future message. Take care.

Hi! Yes, this is Mercé, I haven't disapeared from the face of the Earth, I just went back to Spain... and I didn't have any connexion to internet. After leaving DC in a rush after graduation I started my temporary job --which was meant to be more stable but never got to it-- at the Office of the President of the Regional Government of Catalonia. I stayed there for seven months and when things were getting a bit more interesting budget cuts came in order to meet these wonderful Maastricht criteria for Monetary Union. I went through a quite discouraging period of unemployment which happily finished last July.

I am currently a Researcher --I am still trying to sort out what this exactly means-- at the European Institute of Public Administration-European Center for the Regions. The Headquarters are in Maastricht (!!) and the Center in Barcelona.

My stay at the Regional Government was interesting. You know, Regional politics is not exactly high politics --even if they want to play so-- but I got to travel around Europe and even with the President's private jet! To a certain extent I had to put aside all my International Relations/Conflict Management/Multilateral Negotiations theories so well explained to me at SAIS (:. From this point of view, it is interesting to see how Regions try to put forward a political document, how they negotiate... etc.

Now I have to think about which seminars and conferences can be interesting for Region's civil servants on topics concerning European integration, EU Regional Policy, etc. We will also have open activities to which you are all welcome if you can convince your boss to pay the fees for a highly interesting conference in Barcelona, preferably towards Spring/Summer time (:. Besides I have to carry out research on these topics, I have to network in the Regional arena and .... to attend PhD students desperately looking for the latest news on Regional topics, upps...

Apart from that I am still recovering from my cultural shock, not the one a European is supposed to have when he/she goes to the US but from the one I, at least, had comming back to Europe!!!

Everything is fine now and remember Spain, and particularly Barcelona, is a great country, relaxing for holidays and stressful --not in the US way-- for working.

I was very happy to see that the Bologna/DC spirit has not completely disapeared.

Love,
Mercé.

give thanks. [This was posted soon after Thanksgiving]

every piece of cutlery i own has been dirtied, there is a mound of mashed potato in my kitchen big enough to significantly affect world potato output prices, and lying next to the sink is the mutilated carcass of an ex-28lb turkey.

marshmallows have fallen between the cracks in the floorboards. my head is still furry from carousing with a bottle of wild turkey until the second cock (turkey). no-one ate my brave attempt at a nearly-pumpkin pie. (only harrods sells pumpkin after halloween).

and what did i give thanks for? finding another cultural experience which involves eating a great deal to add to my growing list and girth.

many americans took over my kitchen. the wsj's london bureau received bi-hourly turkey updates via e-mail. hour two: Scientific Journal, Thursday, November 28, 1996: have stumbled upon a revolutionary theory in heat mechanics: food tends to cook faster when the oven is actually on. Must conduct further experiments to verify. Hope everyone is having a LATE lunch . . . hour four: The turkey is starting to get a nice tan. It's such a beautiful bird, I've decided to forget about cooking it and instead walk next door and see if I can get it on Page 3. (i live next door to news international, publishers of high-quality tabloids such as the sun, and low-quality smut like the sunday times.)

the cultural mix was worth giving thanks for, too. a scattering of journalists, one freelancer about to head into the wilds of kazahkstan, someone's cousin, an all-american boy on his junior-year-abroad cousin who sang, badly, a radical left-wing documentary maker, a bulgarian who talked a great deal, and a turk that didn't.

although it was in london, and at night, it was almost an authentic experience. people lolled around on the furniture after dinner loosening their clothing. i found a belt under the sofa the next day. we took photos. there was no football, but we stared at pictures of guns instead. everyone commented how great thanksgiving was when you didn't have to listen to uncle louis' story about the milkmaid and the pineapple. most said how happy they were that they had families that loved and cared for them 3,000 miles away.

give thanks.

Stefan, as promised, here's an update on my trip to Sierra Leone. I went out as part of a five person agricultural assessment team (four from the USG and one from the E.U.) Sierra Leone is a beautiful, green country and the people are very open and friendly.

We had a little bit of excitement on our first trip out in "the field". We arrived in Bo, a medium-sized town in the south, and checked into our "hotel". Fifteen minutes later I heard a sound like fire-crackers. Naive little old me, I thought maybe a village festival was going on. However, I soon found out that it was actually gunfire. Shooting was going on all around our hotel. During quiet periods we'd pop up (from the floor where we were crouched) to look out the windows and see what was going on. After about two hours of fairly heavy gunfire, things were silent for 10-15 minutes and we decided to leave (by car) for an NGO (Action Contre la Faim) compound on the outskirts of town. We were eventually evacuated by helicopter, along with the whole ex-patriate humanitarian community.

We found out that the conflict was between the Government of Sierra Leone soldiers (who often loot and steal food because they don't get paid their saleries on time) and the traditional tribal hunters, called "kamajors", who possess magical powers and who protect their villages and towns. The kamajors wear the color red, with mirrors sewn into their clothing, and talismans to protect them. They are said cause bullets to melt into water before impact. People protected by the kamajors supposedly have a similar imperviousness to bullets. Even the educated local NGO staff believe in the kamajors' powers.

That's the most exciting info. from the trip. I don't want to bore everyone with details about inland valley swamp rice, cassava, and sweet potatoes! I saw at least 15 rice fields on this trip - they tend to look the same after a while.

Upon my return, once I got over the jet lag, I got switched temporarily to Rwanda and Zaire. (U.S. Government logic - spend thousands of dollars to send me to Sierra Leone so I can learn about the country and then switch me to a different country!) I may be sent out to Rwanda for February and March - should be very interesting.

Later on! Jenny

Greetings to my long neglected SAISer community!

Many apologies for the long silence.

"Long Silence?" you mutter to yourself under your breath, scratching your head.

"Hmmm. Doesn't the adj. long imply that at some time there was indeed something other than silence?--hinting at an interregnum from a regular correspondence of some sort," you ponder, brow knit, drawing your hands down your jowels to the point of your chin. (If you don't feel you have jowels or a pointy chin, rest assured, I am nonetheless refering to you. Notice I've remained gender-neutral by not referencing the scratching sound this maneuver makes when running a hand over an unshaven male face, such as my own, at present.) Well, technically it is true that if we were refering strictly to the SAIS news on the web, and excluding face to face voice transmission, this would be my first venture at corresponding. Hence, you should reward this rare effort with immediate response and spontaneous phone calls. (I'll have an E-Mail address sometime soon in Germany. In the meantime, you should opt for the spontaneous phone call option--see number below).

Oh, I've seen some of ya'll on occasion. I can always find Ben on the Hill when I'm in town, and have really enjoyed the hurried lunch at Union Station and the Thai cuisine. I saw Louise Ferguson and Antonio Parenti in Brussels (Oct. '96). Marcus Jelitto in Frankfurt (Aug. '96) and of course in June '96 I caught up with a handful of you when in DC back in June. I appreciate David Heyman's hospitality in June, via Aideen, though I didn't see him until yesterday evening over at the Friday night SAIS Happy Hour here in DC. I also ran into Martin and Becky Spicer, as well as Jamie Davies! It's been a few years and it damn sure is good to get together and catch up. I also had great pasta in Bologna with Kathy Blake and Inoa in July. Just Mon. I spotted Jame D. wandering pensively--deaf to the screams from my car--in his black trench coat through DC. This was only a sighting and does not count as actually having corresponded.

Gees, where to begin?

I s'pose the newest news--which, incidentally, is not exactly the most fun--is that Boonda and I have separated. Life is pretty much in limbo on the personal side. Though I've weathered the stormiest part and am still afloat, I think the compass got washed overboard. Could be irretrievable. We'll see.

I considered running through the littany of normal stuff before sharing the news on the private side but, with the biggest news on the table, I'll give you an update on more upbeat--if slightly less important in the general scheme of things--matters....

Yeah, I'm still enjoying an interesting job as manager of trade and investment policy for the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany. I cover a policy issue portfolio that includes Telecoms liberalization, Multi-media, Financial Services, and Washington/Bonn/Brussels Government Relations. I have the opportunity to work closely with the top country managers of US companies in the Federal Republic, not to mention of lot high ranking German politicians and the US Embassy's top echelon. That remains an interesting part of my job.

While I've gathered a lot of experience and "learned" the ins and outs of lobbying, the most difficult challenge has been cultivating the "Art of Schmooze." Surely there is a Zen classic out on this topic which I would have done well to read before assuming my position in Frankfurt.

Perhaps I've been there too long. Over a year already. I'm not used to living in one place for this long.

Note:
By the way, if it weren't for delete and backspace the "you" would be "zou" and I vood be zaying ferry vierd sings to zou. (foreign keyboards and accents can warp zou a little).

Actually, I'm tired of backspacing and deleting so just remember "y" = "z" and we should be able to avoid anz confusion. (No, I don't feel like changing the kezboard setting, but I'll trz to find the "y" more frequently on this American kezboard).

Well now. Where were we? Oh zeah, I'm still working in Germanz. Frankfurt, that is. But, I'm in Washington, DC and Surry, Virginia (across the river from Williamsburg) until Dec. 29, '96. I could be reached at tel. (757) 267-2959, and would love to hear from and see some of zou guzs. ("you guys") {I hope you appreciate that simultaneous translation, in case you forgot the "yz" equation. Not everyone gets this special treatment.}

I was in DC this week on business making rounds on the Hill, hitting the White House and various agencies like USTR, Commerce and State Dept.s with official AmCham Germany policy positions and lobbying for certain business interests.

After rounding out a fairly interesting week, focused on hamburger consumption, trying to train my general manager--a German--not to use knife and fork on American beef, I now am forced to suffer the unhappz fate of so manz Germans...I have to use up the remainder of my 32 vacation dazs.

The two weeks Boonda and I spent in Thailand were stimulating... to all of the senses. Some hot tips: Bring Kaopectate (s.o. please tell me how to spell that) and avoid the speedster-jungle-leaches by walking non-stop whenever you find yourself in an inconspicuous Thai junlge. Preferably, don't set out on a six hour hike while using the non-stop, speed-hiking technique. The little brown leaches we encountered use the forrest floor approach, rather than tree-dropping method, though I guess an umbrella would come in handy if you encounter the tree-top-parachuter-leach variety.

The week of vaction I took in June, after a working week in DC, and the one week family vacation to Italy in July were all very well spent. Nonetheless, I find myself having to knock our the final two weeks before year's end.

Now, for those of you who thinks this sounds a little cushy, let me tell you, you're dead wrong! Many of you may know how hectic it can be in the weeks prior to departing for your annual two-week vacation.

Delegate everything!

But can you trust anyone to do as good a job as you would?

Hell no!

So then you work 16 hour days--instead of 12 hour days-- in the weeks leading up to your departure and you work 48 hours straight, without going home, in the run up to the day your flight departs. You get off work at 7am on departue dy, head home, throw stuff in your suitcase and scramble off to the Airport, where you're supposed to be by 9:30 am to catch your 11:00 am flight.

So if you think it's easy dealing with all the stress of German vacations time, I can only remind you that it just isn't any fun at all.

That said, I am around and looking to Christmas shop. Anyone located in DC or VA should get in touch.

Potomac Mills awaits!

Have I forgotten anything? Surely I have.

My address in VA :
692 Gilpark Rd.
Dendron, VA 23839

Tel: 267-2959
Area Code: (757) or (804), until Feb. '97

You could E-Mail me until Dec. 29, '97 at:
rndochka@aol.com