Posts Tagged ‘Thao Anh Tran’

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Dispatch From an Alum: Attending My Summit 2010 at the G-8 and G-20

August 5, 2010

By Thao Anh Tran

Last month I had the unique opportunity to represent the United States as a Youth Delegate at My Summit 2010, the official international youth summits held alongside the G-8 and G-20 Summits in Canada. Unlike previous G-8 and G-20 Summits, this year the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, invited his G-8 and G-20 counterparts to send a delegation consisting of 7 university-level youths who have demonstrated a passion in international affairs to discuss and negotiate on the same themes as the leaders.

At the G-8 Summit, in addition to having the chance to listen to thought-provoking lectures from guest speakers on the four main themes of the Summit: terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation, food security, maternal and child health, and climate change, I also got to participate in a negotiation session with Youth Delegates from seven other countries. As an aspiring diplomat, the highlight of the G-8 Summit for me was being able to witness and participate in the intense debate during the terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation negotiation session. With an experienced negotiator serving as our moderator, all the Youth Delegates from eight different countries took turns to express our views about issues relevant to the topic. Though there were plenty of disagreements along the way, I was amazed at how respectful we were to one other and we really took the time to listen to everyone’s opinions. After extra working sessions that lasted until midnight, I was very proud of our end product: a realistic communiqué that encompassed youth ideals and included everyone’s voice. Through the negotiation process, I learned that in order to conduct successful diplomacy, it was important to always maintain respect and be willing to compromise on thorny issues. Our overall interests are better served when all participants feel that they have a stake in the process.

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Interning at the State Department

October 9, 2009

By Thao Anh Tran

Meeting with Hillary Clinton while interning at the State Department.  Photo: Thao Anh Tran

Meeting with Hillary Clinton while interning at the State Department. Photo: Thao Anh Tran

As a Thomas R. Pickering Fellow, an honor that I received with assistance from the staff of the Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research, I had the privilege of interning at the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs (more commonly referred to as the China Desk) at the State Department this past summer.

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Behind the Scenes at the G-20

October 1, 2009

By Thao Anh Tran

Working at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh.  Photo: Thao Anh Tran

Working at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh. Photo: Thao Anh Tran

My internship at the State Department’s China Desk this past summer, an incredible experience in itself, led me to an even more amazing opportunity: the chance to participate in the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh from September 24th to September 25th. After my frequent interaction with the management and protocol staff at the State Department in the process of planning for the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, I was asked if I would be interested in serving as a Spouse Liaison Officer for the G-20 Summit. Though I initially had no idea what this job would entail other than being involved in some capacity with helping a spouse of one of the leaders attending the G-20, the thought of being able to attend the Summit made it impossible for me to resist the offer.

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Presenting Elliott School Research in South Korea

September 9, 2009

By Thao Anh Tran

Networking with peers at an academic conference in Seoul, South Korea.  Photo: Thao Anh Tran

Networking with peers at an academic conference in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Thao Anh Tran

Between meeting and discussing with students across the globe my shared interest in East Asian affairs and seeing North Korea from the Peace Observatory in the DMZ, this past week served as an incredible learning opportunity for me.

As a recent graduate of the Elliott School of International Affairs, I am particularly grateful for the financial support I received from the Elliott School Undergraduate Scholars Program. The funding enabled me to participate as a delegate in the Security workshop at the 2009 Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) Academic Conference, which was held in Seoul from August 14th to August 17th. Every year HPAIR brings together hundreds of the brightest minds, both students and experts in the field of international relations for discussion on economic, political, and social issues pertinent to the East Asia-Pacific region.

Originally I was extremely worried that I would appear out of place when engaging in discussion of complex issues with future leaders in the field of international relations. Fortunately, my mind was immediately put to ease when I realized my familiarity with the topics of discussion. Read the rest of this entry ?