Monday, July 28, 2008

Some PR for you

Check out this WSJ article and audio clip about the ICICI Foundation that I'm consulting for. Nachiket, the interviewee, is the guy to whom all my work is ultimately responsible. Pretty interesting stuff, if you're into this sort of thing.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hokay. So here’s the Earth…

Many people from college know that my senior year roommates and I were huge fans of the End of the World flash video. Thanks to Alexa, we even have t-shirts to prove it. These girls will be glad to know that the theme of that skit has now been incorporated into my real life.

You’ll have to see my previous blog post for the full and cumbersome explanation of my job here, but suffice it to say that my work has gotten a little larger than life recently. I am basically in charge of assessing the strategic direction of a large-scale foundation that is trying to solve all of India’s development problems. They have a lot of vision and momentum and enthusiasm, but not necessarily a clear idea of where they want to go or how to go about getting there. (Which is my job to figure out, with my vast 1.5 years of experience in the development industry.)

This leads to a lot of almost comically high-level discussions about how to do things like “alleviate poverty” and “achieve economic growth”. My boss and I actually started a conversation today with, “Okay, so here’s the world. This is where it is now, and this is where we want it to be. So we need to figure out the steps in between.”

This was said with the utmost of seriousness and business-minded logic.

And yet all I could think of was an animated globe floating across a screen, Swiss army knives being thrust into the Chinese flag, and kangaroos standing in blizzards. (If you don’t get it, watch the video.)

WTF, mate?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Just another global tragedy

Sometimes it takes moving across the world to make you think about what's going on in other places. I guess that's why we do it.

We all know about the conflict in Afghanistan. Few of us, myself included, pay much attention to it.

Yesterday there was a suicide attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. No one has taken responsibility for it yet. It targeted a couple Indian diplomats, who have been the main subject of the news here, but also killed almost 40 civilian Afghans, most of whom were there waiting for Indian visas.

My counterpart for this job will arrive in August. He is Afghan. He just got back from spending some time at home, and we just got word from him yesterday that he's arrived in Tehran. He was probably at the Indian embassy in Kabul within the last couple weeks.

It never ceases to amaze me how little things that go on around the world matter until we have a personal connection to them. But what can we do? The burden of all the world's miseries is too much to bear on a daily basis.