WASHINGTON, D.C. – Fellows in the Master of International Development Policy (MIDP) program returned from a two-day professional development trip to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Jan. 7. The annual trip allows MIDP Fellows to build their professional network and learn about opportunities that are currently available in the international development field.

“When I was in college, a professor of mine told me that it will not be your good grades that will guarantee you a good job; it will rather be your communication skills, and how well you are able to represent yourself,” said Zohara Dastgir, first-year Fellow in the MIDP program. “[This trip] has given me the chance to demonstrate my qualifications and how that has prepared me for a certain type of job. Another great dimension of the trip was meeting with Duke alumni who are successful and well-known professionals.”

On Monday, Jan. 6, Fellows went on site visits to more than 15 international development organizations, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Committee of the Red Cross, the U.S. Institute of Peace, Freedom House, and the Center for Global Development.

The following day, they attended panels related to specific focus areas within international development, including finance, peace and conflict, social policy and development management. Panelists included several MIDP alumni who are currently working in Washington, D.C., including Ichiro Toda of the Inter-American Development Bank, Kenneth Lanza of Grant Thornton, and Omar Kebbeh of the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

During the panels and site visits, MIDP alumni and other representatives of international development organizations shared advice about finding jobs and internships in D.C. Rafe Mazer, 2009 MIDP alumnus and Financial Sector Analyst at CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) said that MIDP Fellows already have many of the skills that his and other organizations are looking for.

“We’re constantly challenged to do things that no one else is doing,” he said. “It’s important to be flexible, creative, and have a hunger to learn.”

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