BY HILARY KINKA
This year, I had the honor of serving as Editor-in-Chief of Perspectives, the annual publication of the International Development Program. As the only fully student-run programmatic publication at SAIS, it is a forum for students, alumni, and faculty to share research and ideas on current issues in international development. A cross-campus effort, our editorial team was comprised of three second-year IDEVers, two first-year students based in DC, and one student from the Bologna Center campus, in Italy.
Each issue of Perspectives has a unique theme, which is carefully chosen by the editorial team after several brainstorming sessions in DC and Bologna. A lot goes into choosing the theme: current events, timing, past themes, and an attempt to achieve a middle ground between a theme that is too narrow and one that is all encompassing. After much deliberation, we chose Beyond Poverty: A Broader Development Agenda as the 2014 theme. A particularly salient topic due to the upcoming expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, we hoped authors would share a range of ideas surrounding the future of international development, the incorporation of lessons learned from the MDGs, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Perspectives offers all SAISers the opportunity to submit new research, or to tweak academic papers they have written to fit the theme. Each accepted author works closely with a member of the editorial team to polish the piece for publication. The challenging part as an editor is observing the writing style of an author and incorporating this into your feedback. It is your job to make sure the voice of the author comes through in the final piece, no matter how much it changes throughout the editing process. True to its name, the publication really does give many perspectives on current issues in international development through the integration of articles from students and faculty from two campuses, as well as alumni currently working in relevant areas.
For me, the biggest lesson learned was the importance of checking and rechecking my work, and then relying on the team for suggestions and updates. Despite dozens of reviews of each page, every time I went through again, I found something else to change! Even so, it was sheer luck that, after final edits were sent in, I glanced over at the proof and noticed a title that read “The Vision of the Front and Back CoversS.” That would have been an unfortunate typo to slip through!
The final, printed version of Perspectives is unveiled in early April at the launch event, which is one of the most exciting parts of working on the publication. Students listen to a brief discussion of the year’s theme, mingle with authors, pick up a copy of the new issue, and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and wine with friends. It’s a lot of fun to celebrate the many hours of work that went into finalizing the publication, from editors and authors alike!
As Editor-in-Chief, it was a pleasure to work with Professor Cinnamon Dornsife, the Faculty Advisor to Perspectives, this year’s fantastic Editorial Team—Ally Carragher, Julia Wallin, Jacob Morrin, Gregor Schueler, and Jenny Lu (Bologna Representative)— as well as our authors, faculty, alumni, and supporting staff. Jacob Morrin will be taking over as Editor-in-Chief next year, and I am confident that he will do an incredible job, and continue to shape and improve the publication!
For all those interested, a link to the 2013-2014 issue of Perspectives can be found here: http://issuu.com/saisperspectives/docs/perspectives_2014_final_pdf.
To all incoming IDEV students- I highly recommend that you consider either joining the Perspectives editorial team, or submitting your own work for publication!