In March 2015, I joined a two week field study in Washington DC., under the leadership of Prof. Keiichi Ogawa. The duration of the field study was from 8th to 20th March and it was divided into two phases. The first phase involved attending the 59th Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) annual conference held from 8th to 13 March at the Washington Hilton Hotel. The second phase was dedicated to attending pre-arranged meeting in the international development institutions such as the World Bank, FHI360 etc.
While at the CIES conference, I attended several presentations, listened to discussions by academicians and practitioners, and socialized with many CIES participants. This was my first time to attend the CIES and it was academically and professionally rewarding for me. In addition to socializing with colleagues from other institutions and moving from one location to another inside the luxurious Hilton Hotel, the two main reasons I attended CIES this year were to hear presentations and to converse with other eminent researchers working in education and, practitioners in the international development field. Listening to presentations informed me of what others are doing and, inspired my own research ideas, and really helped me to be exposed to different styles of presentation. A new thing I have learned participating at the CIES this year is that, even though listening to presentations was extremely valuable, hallway conversations could be even more fruitful. I was able to tell others about my research interests and, to receive lot of suggestions about how to frame my work to convey how interesting it is and, that is an important skill not just for a conference but also for the entire life of a researcher in general.
During the second phase of the field exercise, I attended different meetings arranged by Prof. Ogawa in organizations working in education and international development field. Notably, we visited the World Bank on different occasions, where we met experts in the area of education development. Likewise, we visited FHI360 and interfaced with experts and committed people in the international development field with purpose of learning first hand from them about their organizations and, also understand to what extent their works are valuable throughout the globe. I was lucky enough to get a few more appointments at Education Development Center (EDC), Plan International DC and Creative Associates’ International, learning from them about programs and projects in education and development.
Moreover, I visited George Washington University (GWU) and took part in a very stimulating and informative discussion involving Prof. Ogawa, students from Kobe University and students from GWU. During the meeting, we discussed various issues regarding international education development and professional career development.
A special thank you to Professor Keiichi Ogawa who has worked very hard throughout this field trip making sure that each of us is getting maximum benefit from the field study exercise. Likewise, I wish to extend my gratitude to all Ogawa Seminar Alumni in Washington DC., namely; Dr. Shinsaku Nomura, Dr. Mari Shojo and Ms. Miho Nomura for their warm support and encouragement.
Bernard Loleka Yungu