I’m ready for a change of scenery, so I plan to spend several weeks in Colombia this summer looking for new research ideas and opportunities.
I always thought of myself as a political economist who happened to work in Africa rather than an Africanist. I still plan to work south of the Sahara, including a new project or two in Kenya. But I’m ready to shake things up a little bit. I’ve dusted off my 15-year old Spanish books and the lessons have begun anew.
The whole family is going. We have a beautiful home exchange for the last week of July and first week of August in Bogota, plus an office at Universidad de los Andes. Then two weeks holiday.
I welcome advice for both work and play. Jeannie and I went in 2009 and you gave us some good advice. So I am coming back for more.
Holiday-wise, we haven’t even begun to explore options, and so we’re wide open to suggestions. We will have a 2- and 4-year old in tow, so the ideal situation is to visit two places for a week each, and use each as a home base for day trips and exploration. We were thinking maybe Medellin and then the coast, but really have not thought it through yet. Are there places of historical/conflict interest that are now family-friendly? FARC’s Wonderland?
Research-wise, I’ve been thinking about a few different directions:
- IPA has a new Colombia office, and as I mentioned yesterday, I’m heading up the Peace & Recovery program. I’m especially interested in learning about innovative approaches to reducing violence and conflict, or rebuilding after instability.
- Rehabilitation and employment of high-risk men, such as the therapy program I’ve been studying in Liberia, or innovative employment programs for reducing crime and violence such as this ex-combatant reintegration program in Liberia.
- Last, as a follow-on to my local-level violence forecasting project in Liberia, I’ve been working with some colleagues on training prediction engines using 50 years of municipal-level violence in Colombia. Any early warning system work is of interest.
Suggestions of interesting people or programs or organizations are welcome.