Be Awesome

Look, our forefathers died for the "pursuit of happiness," okay? Not for the "sit around and wait of happiness." Now if you want, we can go to the same bar, drink the same beer, talk to the same people every day or you can lick the Liberty Bell. You can grab life by the crack and lick the crap out of it.
--Barney (HIMYM)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

First Month at Post / Front Office Rotation

Since arriving in Indonesia, after a brief two weeks getting settled in and supporting my home office in procurement, I've been on rotation to the Mission's Front Office.  Essentially, this position is a mix of being an Executive Assistant and being a Staff Aide.  Responsibilities include preparing agendas for senior staff meetings, taking notes in meetings for the Mission Director, and miscellaneous document preparation in response to "Embassy Taskers" (these are requests from USAID, typically for State or for the Ambassador, to provide input on documents, prepare talking points or briefing memos for meetings, and various fact sheets on USAID programming).

So far, it's been a pretty good experience and I'm learning a lot about how the Mission operates, the USAID interaction with the embassy community at-large, and the various personalities and protocol within the Mission.  A fun aspect to this rotation is attending various events and meetings with the Mission Director and getting to see some of the programs that we are implementing.

Socially, there has been a pretty good group of other officers in Jakarta.  I tend to spend most of my free time going out with other USAID colleagues and colleagues I knew through language class.  Continuing to work on building the social network, but I'm pretty content with things so far.  Jakarta has a variety of places to go out to eat, numerous elaborate brunches on Sundays, and lots of shopping options.  I think prices generally are higher than other South-east Asian countries, namely Bangkok, but are still OK.  There also seem to be a lot of nightlife options and I hope to eventually check those out as well.

The first event I attended was the PRESTASI Pre-Academic Training Orientation.  This is a one of USAID Indonesia's scholarship programs for graduate studies.  This allows Indonesians to pursue Master level degrees in the US or in Indonesia.  This particular launch was to first meeting for the scholarship recipients to get together and understand processes for applying to universities and how the scholarship worked now that they were selected.  Various USAID technical offices came and congratulated the recipients as well as imparted the imperative that they study and obtain the knowledge and skills in their various fields and bring that back to make an impact in Indonesia.

USAID Mission Director and Office Reps speak to the scholars.
Group shot with the scholarship recipients.

MTV EXIT Documentary Launch
I also attended the MTV EXIT launch event for the anti-trafficking documentary that takes place in Indonesia.  This event took place at the Hard Rock Cafe Jakarta.  The event was attended by Indonesian celebrities and the various supporters of MTV EXIT, which includes USAID, AusAid, ASEAN, and more.  The documentary series is just part of the MTV EXIT campaign and also would include a concert that would be held in the city of Bandung in Indonesia.

The Mission Director providing remarks at the event.

Mission Director with an Indonesian official and the project head of MTV EXIT.

Secretary Clinton Visit to Jakarta
Secretary Clinton also dropped by Jakarta during her travels.  During her time here, as per protocol, she held a meet and greet for embassy staff.  It was only for a very brief moment of time, but it was still good and she commented in her address the great work of USAID's programs, particularly our education programs here in Indonesia.  Unfortunately, she didn't have any time for individual photos.  Ah well, maybe some other day.

Being introduced by the Amb. to Indonesia and Amb. to ASEAN

So that pretty much highlights some of the more noteworthy events thus far.  Looking forward to what else will come.

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