Okay, so the final assessment MUST be done by Friday...if it's not then we are going to have a problem getting it to Congress members who are a part of the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO. According to our Congressional Correspondent at the Center, there are many Congressmen interested in the project, and this is also why we need the "mini-report" for them to have as talking points. The Parliamentary Assembly will meet from November 13th through November 17th in Edinburgh, Scotland. This could be the break-in point for our study and assessment and will hopefully be a moving point for many NATO countries to see exactly where each country is lacking in contributions and a rallying point for those who would like to see a change in NATO and ISAF commitment. To see this project talked about, or even just potentially make a difference in contributions, would be something amazing for me to see because I have worked so closely with those who have contributed to the assessment and have had such an involvement in reviewing and putting it together. Only time will tell however, whether or not this assessment really makes a difference.
Over the time that I have been working on this project I have seen it transform from a project aimed at changing NATO to a project aimed at changing contributions to NATO and getting countries to adjust their inputs to troop numbers in Afghanistan. I often see the same thing happeneing in my own papers, the evolution of an idea or a purpose, especially when a paper lasts throughout a semester or a year. It is comforting to know that this also happens in the professional world as well. There are always revisions that can be made, no matter how much you think that it's done.
This internship in coordination with my Intro to International Relations Research course has really taught me a lot about researching and there are some parts that intersect and there are some that don't. My paper that I am doing in my class is a miniature part of our assessment and I find myself having some slight expertise in the drug area of our assessment, being able to pull out numbers from my head and knowing what websites to look at for information and also knowing who are experts in the area. Ironically, one person, Ahmed Rashid, on our expert advisory team, wrote one of the books I am using for my paper. There is much more crossover than I thought there would be and I am surprisingly excited and very pleased with how it is turning out!