— The Mercatus Center's Global Prosperity Initiative Journalism Fellows are a great bunch. Matt Welch, Mark Hemingway, and Melinda Ammann are some of my favorite people. Somehow, I've never managed to meet Matt, but we emailed back and forth when this blogging thing was starting (his wife said I was cute!), and I can't imagine not actually liking him. Matt's off to Romania with Mercatus's Dragos Aligica (also one of my favorite people!) and some Mason grad students. Mark is headed back to the Philippines for a second summer with Steve Daley, an Australian number-crunching machine from Mason, to get the human angle on microfinance and entrepreneurhsip in the slums of Manila. Mark is a great writer, a great talker, and, well, a decent drinker. And I knew Melinda back before there was an internet. I remember her talking about becoming a journalist her freshman year at Iowa, and I'm happy she's doing it (philosophy detour notwithstanding), especially in league with a program I helped get going. She'll be great in Botswana.
Now that I've been away from Mercatus for half a year, and have a little more perspective, I find, rather modestly, that I'm pretty impressed with what we started and were doing with GPI. Read about this summer's field studies here. And check out GPI's public interest comment on the Millenium Challenge Account.