| by Eva Gudbergsdottir

For the first time since its founding in 2003, more than half of the participants in the Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation (DPMI) program came from outside of the Institute.

This session also marked the second year of partnership with Partners in Health, whose founders include Dr. Paul Farmer and Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, supporting a now annual occurrence in Rwanda.

Participants in the two-week session in January 2015 included 18 MIIS stu­dents and four Middlebury students from the United States, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, and the Czech Republic. Students ranged in age from 22 to 47 and came from a range of backgrounds.

The program began with an option­al cultural immersion segment, led by Marie Kagaju Laugharn, during which participants met with key govern­ment ministers and leaders of nonprofit organizations and visited historical and memorial sites.

The two-week intensive training pro­gram that followed featured lessons in project design, project management, and social-marketing skills. For the final proj­ect, students developed and presented a social marketing plan to Partners in Health around one of five health issue fo­cus areas. Another DPMI partnership ses­sion is in the planning stages for summer 2015 in Kenya with Pact and the Omega Foundation. These sessions are in addition to sessions offered annually in Monterey and Washington D.C.

According to Carolyn Taylor Meyer MAIPS ’05, director of professional im­mersive learning and special programs at the Institute, the plan is to continue to grow these partnerships over the next few years.

The training sessions in East Africa “offer tremendous opportunities for stu­dent learning,” she said, “and are the cor­nerstone of our immersive learning experi­ence.” Students learn and work alongside practitioners from the host country and gain the educational and resume-building experience of developing a deliverable for a renowned client. “That can be an academ­ically, professionally, and personally trans­formative experience—and that is what the Institute is all about!”

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Eva Gudbergsdottir