If you were wondering why I fell off the face of the earth (a.k.a. did not blog for about one month), the reason is: (drumroll please) the Food Secure Arab World conference.
I rarely ever mention my day job at the International Food Policy Research Institute. In fact, I have only talked about it once before in the past year I have been a bona fide professional. Obviously, there are several reasons why I avoid the topic on this blog, most important of which is confidentiality. However, I would like to mention this event because it was such a labor of love (and of course, hatred at times when our team stress level went through the roof).
As mentioned on the official conference website, FSAW 2012, as we came to know it, focused on the following. “To achieve long-term prosperity, Arab countries urgently need to foster food security. A comprehensive roadmap for development and poverty reduction requires both a broad food security program for the region accompanied by country-specific strategies. Using participatory, transparent decisionmaking processes, governments, civil society, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector can design successful strategies and implementation plans. Policy research can ensure that those plans—and the actions that follow—are based on solid evidence. The February 2012 Food Secure Arab World Conference in Beirut, Lebanon, is a forum to discuss that evidence and use it to set priorities for a better future.”
Am I glad that it is over? You bet your bottom dollar I do! Much as I loved working with our collaborating institution in Beirut, I do not miss the super-early morning Skype calls with them. Much as it felt rewarding to fix problems, I do not miss having to constantly wake up in the middle of the night to check emails and do so. Nevertheless, planning a conference is truly an experience that I will take with me. Plus, I have grown much closer to the colleagues I have had the opportunity to work with. They have taught me invaluable lessons and guided me unreservedly.