You've been invited to The White House

You've been invited to The White House

When I first read the e-mail containing the message, "Congratulations! You've been nominated to attend a discussion on Obama Administration sub-Saharan Africa Policy at The White House" my immediate thought was that I was obviously receiving spam. Someone must have found out about my massive crush on the Obama Administration and decided to play a cruel joke on me. The only thing that made me think otherwise was the fact that the e-mail came from someone at The Washington Center. Hmmm...


Not Spam


After doing some investigative work and sending e-mails to a staff member at TWC headquarters I was finally satisfied that the e-mail was not spam. I had been invited to The White House and I was being offered the opportunity to sit in on a discussion regarding the Obama Administration's sub-Saharan Africa Policy. So. This is it. My chance has finally arrived. I will proudly march up the front steps of The White House, turning around periodically to wave at the crowds of people chanting my name from the street, and shake hands with Barack Obama.


Kate's White House Invitation


The Washington Center nominated some students to go and listen to the panel discussion and I was fortunate enough to be one of those students. This was an opportunity that I never would have been able to score on my own and it was definitely one of the highlights of my time spent here in Washington, D.C. The panel consisted of some incredibly distinguished individuals including Grant Harris, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs at the U.S. State Department, Earl Gast, Assistant Administrator for Africa at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Joseph McMillan, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, and Florizelle B. Liser, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa at Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.


Kate's view of the presentation!


The discussion was so interesting and it was great to hear the thoughts of so many professional individuals. There was a chance for question and answer session at the end of the presentation and many people had questions about what was happening in Mali, the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and how the African youth here in the U.S. can become more involved in the campaign with Africa.


Blazing Our Own Path


While in D.C. I have tried to find adventures and activities that are off the beaten path. I've always found that the best way to become acclimated in a new city is to jump in head first. Find out what the locals are doing and join in with them! I love to run and was fortunate enough to meet someone during my time here who also loves to run. I would hardly call myself a runner but I do enjoy it. So when my co-worker told me about a night race that was happening in Crystal City I jumped on the opportunity. In a matter of days I was lacing up my running shoes and getting ready to hit the streets of Virginia with over 1,900 other runners.


1,900 new friends, made on a Crystal City run.


The course was a breeze and it was the most fun I've ever had at a race. We couldn't have asked for better weather, either. At the end of the race there was a beer tent (for 21+), free food and snacks and lots of music and mingling. We met my coworker in the V.I.P tent (she works for the running store, Pacers) and headed out for some post-run grub. It was a great event and a wonderful way to shake up my weekend.


Kate and her co-worker/running-mate get excited.


So much food, so little time...


My final thought for the day: Check out this great dive in Adams Morgan called The Diner. It's a 24 hour food joint where they serve breakfast all day. I was on the prowl for a great place to eat brunch on Sunday and stumbled upon this little gem tucked away on 18th St. NW here in D.C. I had the best Greek omelette of my life and found myself immersed in a conversation with the gentleman sitting next to me who was a returned Peace Corps volunteer from Burkina Faso. Such a small world!


This week is my last week here at Peace Corps Headquarters and as a student of The Washington Center. Stayed tuned for some parting words of wisdom headed your way next week...

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