It has been a most fulfilling first few days of orientation with ICMA and the rest of the professional fellows in the spring 2018 Environmental Sustainability cohort.
I am really grateful that the environmental sustainability theme had dear Tony and Kara from ICMA to take care of us, and have our own topic specific orientation so we could zero in on issues we feel for and go deeper into discussions and learning from like-minded bunch of us, as well as from the amazing speakers ICMA had planned for us.
Jeff Soule from the American Planning Association gave us an illuminating presentation about planning for urban spaces and the need for involving the community in the urban planning process, as well as the need for strategic research and analysis of social and economic issues within the region and I loved how he stressed that in urban planning, it is important to build with nature than against it.
I was really excited to hear from Joshua Murphy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Administration on day 2, about how NOAA takes information from maps to integrate into policies, as well as how NOAA is always able to work better with other countries through specific intermediaries such as ICMA, rather than directly which would be more difficult.
The best part of the 2 day orientation with ICMA was sitting with fellow Fellows in marine conservation work, dear Shan from Malaysia, and Yoga, from Indonesia, and gain fresh new insight and perspectives on marine issues given their vast experience in the government and NGO sector. It was also good to learn from them about how to involve stakeholders in marine issues, from a ground-up perspective, and how each stakeholder needs to have each of their own value propositions and follow up commitment statements on how they can better advance the steps to positive change together as a whole. I am taking the next few days to rework my community challenge now but definitely very grateful for their insight and sharing, to give me better clarity on what kind of problem I am tackling and what kind of output and outcome I would like to achieve.
Already feel like I am going to be missing this dynamic bunch of 20 amazing fellows so much, as we head off to our host communities the next day! But here’s wishing everyone safe flights and amazing learning and growth ahead of all of us, Spring 2018 professional fellows in environmental sustainability! 😀 Looking forward to catching everyone back in DC again in a month!
Kathy Xu, Singapore