Thanks to the Veterinary Pioneers in Public Health Fund, Jamie Middleton, DVM, MS, MPH, was able to travel to the Engaging Intergovernmental Organizations (EIO) program in March 2014. The program was a week-long professional development opportunity across Europe. It is designed to provide mid- to late-career government officials, academics, and private sector leaders the chance to interact more effectively with intergovernmental organizations (IGOs).
Over the course of the week, Middleton traveled to World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris, France; the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland; and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, Italy.
The experience provided Middleton and fellow participants with a variety of activities, speakers, and networking opportunities that included overviews of the organization, speed-networking, and observing a WTO Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures meeting. Slingluff says the diverse and interactive experiences, as well as a very comfortable, personal environment, and face-to-face interaction facilitated effective engagement with key officials at the IGOs. “The networks that were built from this program create a foundation for communication and knowledge exchange among participants and the IGO officials as well as potential partnerships,” she says.
The EIO program is a platform for interdisciplinary learning that utilizes site visits and engagement activities with key officials in animal health and public health, trade, food security, and food safety at the four IGOs participants visit. “We had the opportunity to expand our professional networks with international leaders, develop potential collaboration opportunities, gain deeper knowledge on international standard-setting and global coordination, and increase institutional engagement,” says Middleton.
The Pioneer Fund covered most of Middleton's overhead, including registration costs, her flight, and part of her lodging. “It was through generous funding from the Pioneer Fund that I was able to participate in the EIO program,” says MIddleton.