Time really flies, especially when you’re having a good time! I find this true as I start to pen down this blog, while looking back at the 12 fabulous months that passed in a blink of an eye (at least figuratively). September 2015 was the time when I had embarked on one year fellowship in Washington DC amidst great excitement. As an Atlas Corps fellow I became part of an exclusive group of highly diverse young nonprofit leaders from all over the world, while living and working in the U.S federal capital was indeed an enticing aspect. Personal, professional, and cultural learning was at offer, and as I reflect back I feel as having had achieved most of them.
The first couple of weeks were intense and packed with information; however kudos to the Atlas Corps team for providing an apt immersion that enabled a smooth transition to not only the U.S. culture, but also the multicultural setting of which we were to be a part of during our time in the U.S. Serving at The Nexus Fund (my host organization) was another fulfilling professional experience. Working from the head office of an international organization with a global presence was highly beneficial in terms of providing exposure, as well as offering an insight on the operations of a start-up organization. Moreover, the program work provided me with the opportunity to work on new and meaningful fields, such as civil society strengthening, peace-building, atrocity prevention, and others. Serving at The Nexus Fund also gave me the opportunity to also attend various international conferences and talks in the field of peace-building and atrocity prevention.
Making Washington DC my home for a year certainly gave me the advantage over the 20 million visitors that throng the momentous city each year for a brief period. I made full use of my time by paying detailed visits to the iconic buildings and monuments, with the highlight being several trips inside the iconic White House. Visits to the city’s numerous museums full of historical, scientific, artistic, and cultural heritage were another enthralling experience, most notably being the Library of Congress. Moreover, attending amazing performances by cultural troupes from all over the world at the globally renowned performance centres throughout the year also added more fun to life in DC.
Parting with loved ones for a year was not easy, but being part of a highly diverse yet closely knit family of Atlas Corps fellows helped reduce the longing to go home. Our religious and cultural differences never barred us from uniting for a common cause to make this world a better place. We celebrated all religious and cultural festivities together, whether it was Eid, Diwali, Christmas, or Seder; we were not only together but also eager to learn more about the festival itself and this interaction with other fellows also led to a meaningful cultural exchange.
Great memories, essential lessons learnt, and a large network of friends in each continent of the world are some of the best takeaways I have from this fellowship, while I find myself that bit more eager to work towards sustainable development in my home country.