As I sit in a cafe near the Anne Frank Museum with an espresso and crossaint, I now have a moment to reflect on the past 10 days in Uganda. What strikes me first, particularly as I spend a few hours in Amsterdam, is the global nature of it all. I've always been frustrated by the US-centric view we tend to take, both in business and politics. I was fortunate to have many opportunities while growing up to see the larger, global picture, which is why working at the IRC is so satisfying (among other reasons). But we have a tendency to forget this perspective since we live and work in the US. I want to work to find ways of maintaining this view without having to travel for 24 hours.
I'm also reflecting on the large set of challenges we have before us at the IRC. I'm just starting to understand some of the subtleties and complexities of international humanitarian work. I read an abstract of an article yesterday which said that some agencies are doing more harm than good as they try to help developing nations with their health needs. I know how hard we work at this, so it's doubly frustrating to read that we may not be as effective as we'd hoped, at least according to some. I look forward to getting back and discussing some of these issues with my colleagues.
Finally, I think about the challenges within the IT department, which are many. Besides the technical and financial issues, there are significant issues of culture, and organizational momentum. Things that we think should work in a typical US-based organization just might not work on a global scale. I think we have to rethink our approach somewhat. The problem is, I'm not sure I fully understand what the new approach should be. Maybe that's for my next 8 hour flight.