Friday, May 11, 2012

Your Tax Dollars At Work

What's going on here?   I am visiting Australia courtesy of the U.S. State Department, as part of their Public Speaker and Specialist Program.  This program sends U.S. scholars around the world to talk about things that are of interest to international audiences.  In my case, I'm talking about the 2012 presidential election, Obama's first term, and election administration.  I'll be speaking to civic groups, universities, the media, and several high schools.  I'll also give a talk at the Australian Senate as part of their occasional lecture series (I attended these when we were there in 2006).

This is my 3rd trip: the first was in 2006, when the whole family went when I was on a Fulbright at the Australian National University; the second in 2007, when I participated in an international visitors program run by the Australian Electoral Commission, in which delegations observed the parliamentary elections (including election administrators from Afghanistan and Iraq).  I hope it's not my last.

Apart from the flying forever to get there part, the country is a joy to visit.  In this instance, though, the sting of the flying forever part is substantially mitigated by the fact that State Department uses business class for international flights over 13 hours.

I'm in LAX, waiting for the Sydney/Melbourne flight.  Can't wait.


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