Maine’s Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, the oldest and one of the largest citizen lake monitoring programs in the nation, has long been on the forefront of citizen lake science. Over the nearly five decades, the VLMP has been in operation, our winning strategy for protecting water resources through direct citizen engagement has been adopted by governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGO’s), and other lake-oriented groups across the US.We have been pleased and honored to share ‘lessons learned’ and resources to help to ensure the success of these, our sister lake monitoring programs. More recently, called upon to help our counterparts in three Canadian provinces, the VLMP model of effectiveness and efficiency went international. As a result, many key VLMP resources (protocols, training, and reference materials, etc.) have now been translated to French!
This summer, our international scope began its migration to the south when we had the good fortune to meet Adam Zemans, Director of the Climate Change and Human Security Program at the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy. (IMTD is an international organization whose mission is to promote a systems-based approach to peacebuilding and to facilitate the transformation of deeply-rooted social conflict, with a historical focus on environmental issues.) Adam, a US and Bolivian citizen with a keen interest in water resource issues, was introduced to the VLMP by of one of our certified monitors. As Adam learned about the VLMP, (exploring our website, and eventually attending three different VLMP trainings), a grand idea began to form.
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On Monday, November 21st, 2016, the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy and the United States Institute of Peace gathered together at USIP headquarters for an informal brown bag lunch. Both IMTD and USIP presented.
Vice President of USIP’s Academy Jeffrey Helsing opened the session by discussing the founding and history of USIP and the many features of the organization, including peacebuilding operations, new initiatives within USIP, and the education opportunities provided by the organization.
One of IMTD’s main interests currently is monitoring and evaluation, as this is a vital part of measuring success during and after peacebuilding programs. Elizabeth Cole, Director of the USIP Fellows Program presented some key methods and findings regarding these topics.
On Thursday September 29, 2016, the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD) hosted the Foreign Service Program (MSFS) of the Georgetown Collaborative Diplomacy Initiative (GCDI). GCDI's goal is two-fold: gaining practical knowledge and simultaneously understanding the diversity of efforts involved in modern day diplomatic relations. During the meeting, Ambassador (ret.) John McDonald shared stories of his career in the Foreign Service, how International Day of Peace came to be, and IMTD’s mission. The students also attended presentations on two of IMTD’s current projects, the Children’s Peace Initiative-Kenya Project (CPI-K) and the Climate Change & Human Security Program (CCHS) in Bolivia. Alex Cantone, Associate Director of IMTD, Africa and Montgomery Hill, Lead Program Officer, Climate Change and Human Security gave the day’s presentations. Students were engaged with both Ambassador McDonald and IMTD staff in a question and answer session at the end of the day about our current programs, the day-to-day operations of an NGO, and the services that IMTD provides.
The Summer School Foreign Policy Immersion Program at Georgetown University attracted 47 high school students from across the U.S., Turkey, Canada, China, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, Colombia, and France. Retired Ambassador John W. McDonald came to Georgetown on July 22 to lecture to the group on Track II and Multi-Track diplomacy.