Saturday, July 3, 2010

New Partners/New Projects - The EGI Conference Hangover

With one week removed since the EGI Conference in Washington D.C., I am feeling more rejuvenated than ever since I started working with EGI this summer. The new people that the organization has come in contact with, the new ideas that we have come up with, the new energy that has been injected into the organization - it is amazing what a conference like this can do to inject new life into the ambition and scope of an organization.

Sam returned from D.C. this weekend with a long list of people who are eager to get involved with EGI - the conference helped to bring them out of the woodwork. As we discussed these possible new members who will help shape the future of this organization, I couldn't help but be amazed by the different walks of life all these people had come from. Men, women, young people, adults, moviemakers, businessmen, writers, philanthropists, engineers, professors - the EGI conference had successfully inspired people from all different backgrounds to come join us as we move the organization forward. I was impressed to know that the conference, at the very least, could touch such a wide swathe of people. This diverse group of people will be able to provide unique perspectives on a wide range of topics and issues.

Coincidentally, this influx of committed people comes as our organization continues to come up with exciting new projects and ideas for the future. One potential project that excites me the most, which also happens to be the one I am leading ;), is called Sira (the Amharic word for work), which involves our organization partnering with a local Ethiopian microfinance institution to help them attract new external financing and funding. It is thrilling to think that a successful businessman and a person with experience in fundraising, examples of people we met at the conference, could offer their expertise to this project sometime soon. We have also started planning the 2010 Cambridge Ethiopia Day to commemorate the Ethiopian New Year on September 11, something that should of interest to any Cambridge, Massachusetts resident, where Ethiopians represent the second largest immigrant community. We have even started planning for EGI's second conference next year and would eventually like to hold a EGI summit in Ethiopia sometime over the next few years! New projects and ideas keep rolling in, and thankfully, we have some new and committed people to help move them along.

Any non-profit organization, like ours, depends on the energy and enthusiasm of its members. The conference reaffirmed this idea for me and reminded me why I wanted to work for EGI in the first place. Please get involved and stay connected in the multitude of projects that we will be rolling out over the next few months.

Maxwell MacCarthy
Research Associate
Ethiopian Global Initiative

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