Please take a moment to read this from Brad Parks:
Since I recently became a project director and research associate for William & Mary's Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations, it feels as though I've come full circle.
Eight years ago, I was an undergraduate international relations major at William & Mary working on my honors thesis on foreign aid. That thesis -- with substantial support from the Institute -- has since evolved into an online database that tracks trillions of dollars in aid to countries around the world. I now find myself back at William & Mary in a professional capacity, fully immersed in the world of development finance, and working to see that this thesis-turned-database will make a real, lasting impact on individual lives and even whole countries and regions.
Your generous support of the College can translate into opportunities for students, such as experiences like the one I had, to undertake research that has major real-world implications, affecting people's everyday lives around the globe.
While conducting research for my undergraduate honors thesis, I discovered that it was remarkably difficult to track the nearly $130 billion a year provided to developing countries for economic and social development. In 2003, as an extension of my research, the College partnered with Brigham Young University and launched an ambitious initiative to track all foreign aid projects from 1947 to the present with what was then called Project-Level Aid (PLAID).
PLAID has since merged its efforts with Development Gateway, and in March 2010 we launched an online presence for our work: www.AidData.org. As a free, user-friendly resource describing the universe of development finance project-by-project, AidData's goal is to track all development grants and loans committed by all major bilateral and multilateral donors.
We're currently working to transform AidData from a database to a dynamic, online platform where various stakeholders can post pictures, videos, documents and real-time feedback related to specific projects, thereby enhancing accountability for the billions of dollars annually invested in development. Our hope is that one day AidData will become the "Wikipedia for foreign assistance projects." Overseeing this "crowd-sourcing" initiative is one of my current responsibilities as a principal investigator for AidData.
AidData has expanded the College's reach and prestige, and, more importantly, enriched the learning experiences of William & Mary students. AidData has become a signature initiative at the College that enables students and faculty to work together closely on cutting-edge research. In my view, it exemplifies what makes William & Mary great.
The AidData project is one example of how a great idea at William & Mary was conceived and how it has grown to make a real impact on the world around us. With a gift to the Fund for William & Mary, you can help the College maintain a level of excellence and support students who want to pursue -- as I did -- scholarship and research that can really make a difference.
The possibilities are endless. Who knows where the next great idea at William & Mary will come from and where it may lead?
Students come to William & Mary with a desire to change the world, and they leave with the tools to do it. Please give today.
what is your current, past or ideal job title?
Business Development Consultant, Project Management Director at USAID, World Bank, or any related organization.
what languages do you speak?
Spanish, English, Portuguese
what's your Hispanic connection?
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