ALC From the Volunteer's Perspective
By Sean Luechtefeld on 10/01/2010 @ 11:39 PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: Today's blog post, which includes highlights from the 2010 Assets Learning Conference, came across my desk by way of Christopher LaPrade, an #ALC2010 Volunteer and Social Media Partner and recipient of the Most Valuable ALC Volunteer award. Use the Comments Feature below to share thoughts and comments with Chris.
Microfinance, Individual Development Accounts and building sustainable assets across borders were some of the definitive themes addressed at the 2010 Assets Learning Conference. The conference, hosted by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, was an excellent opportunity for asset-minded individuals from across the world to come together and exchange best practices.
As a volunteer at ALC, I had the opportunity to work with many of the leaders in this exciting movement. First and foremost, I was tasked with assisting the Innovation Marketplace, a unique opportunity for innovative leaders to exhibit their programs. innovation@cfed worked tirelessly to arrange the Marketplace and it was obvious to innovators and delegates alike that this provided a perfect forum for to exchange ideas and for networking opportunities.
It wasn’t just all work and no play at the ALC. I had the chance to sit in and participate on exciting sessions led by some of the foremost thinkers in asset development. My particular interest lies in international asset building. We heard from communities from across the globe on what was working in their home countries such as the UK, Australia, Spain and some of the work being done by organizations such as World Vision and the Microfinance Centre. It felt as though the room actually got brighter as the figurative light bulb was switched on; delegates furiously taking notes, asking questions and exchanging business cards to follow up later on.
Complementing the work being accomplished in session were the fantastic plenary events. Each plenary was themed differently and facilitated by a leader in the assets movement. I feel that our third plenary, The Innovation Moment: Asset Innovations without Borders, further tied all of these best practice motions together, bringing together not just leaders here in the United States, but also abroad to share their critical lessons and put them under the scrutiny of the delegates. This exchange of best practices is critical as we continue to tackle the challenges of asset development.
The conference theme, The Assets Movement at Its Moment, was very apparent throughout the week. We heard from exciting and inspiring speakers, including legislators who are committed to expanding economic opportunity for all Americans. As a volunteer, I had the pleasure of working with Asset Innovators and the fantastic staff at CFED to ensure that conditions were ripe for this critical exchange of knowledge. I appreciated my time and lessons learned at ALC 2010 and hope to see everyone at ALC 2012!
Christopher M. LaPrade is a freelance global affairs professional based in Washington, DC. His research interests include international education, public diplomacy, nation branding and international asset building. You can contact him via email, follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.