Washington, DC – The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) will host two international fellows, one from Vietnam and one from Singapore, from May 2 to May 27, through the International City County Management Association’s Professional Fellows Program
(PFP) funded by the U.S. Department of State – an exchange program in which individuals explore solutions to challenges they face in their home and host communities.
Specifically, the two fellows are interested in learning more about climate change programs in the region. Melissa Low, Research Associate at the National University of Singapore, holds an M.S. in Environmental Management and was awarded the Shell Best Dissertation Award in 2013 for her dissertation on the 2015 climate agreement. Mai Huong Vu, Officer at the Da Nang Department of Natural Resources and Environment in Vietnam, holds an M.S. in Urban Environmental Management and has helped Da Nang’s government develop the city’s climate change action plan.
“I applied for the program to learn about U.S. local government’s role in addressing environmental sustainability efforts, and best practices for tackling issues such as climate change,” said Low. “I hope to be better equipped to develop and implement regional action plans, as well as study the applicability of such efforts for Singapore.”
While in the District of Columbia, the fellows will provide research support to COG’s climate and energy team and participate in environmental sustainability tours and events. They will have the opportunity to present their ideas for the Regional Climate and Energy Action Plan update to COG’s Climate, Energy, and Environment Policy Committee. The fellows will join COG members and staff in a DC Water resiliency tour and a Alice Ferguson Foundation campus tour to learn about the Foundation’s effort to be the first campus internationally to be net zero energy, water, and waste. They will also attend the University of Maryland’s Climate Action 2016 Forum, the Energy Efficiency Global Forum, Green Festival Expos, and the Better Buildings Summit.
“We have a full itinerary planned for the fellows to make sure that they get the most out of the experience,” said Jeffrey King, COG Principal Environmental Planner, who participated in a previous exchange in China. “The program is a great opportunity to share ideas and practices with other countries and bring an enhanced level of understanding and cooperation to address the challenge of climate change and environmental sustainability.”
COG is one of hundreds of U.S. organizations hosting Professional Fellows from more than 40 countries this spring. At the conclusion of the program, more than 260 fellows will gather in D.C., for the Professional Fellows Congress, a three-day event aimed at preparing fellows to implement follow-up projects upon their return home and network with other colleagues from around the world.