Today the day starts early. The morning is dreary, gray sky, a sprinkling of rain…but that’s more than likely to change as the day continues. I’ve just arrived in Istanbul, not the capital, but Turkey’s commercial, financial, and transportation hub nonetheless. The airport has welcome signs to the IMF-World Bank meetings for all the international delegates expected this week. I smile as the passport officer greets me. I’ve been living abroad for nearly a year, and it’s always nice to visit.
I step off the subway at this morning’s destination: Taksim Square. The long hallways of the subway station are lined with a World Bank sponsored photograph exhibition called “Development from a Youth Perspective.” Images of working, studying, healthy young people all with their catchy slogans of what development means, or should mean. I smile again. There seems to be an electricity in the air, an anticipation, an awareness of the importance of these meetings. I’m anxious to start the day and gauge the feeling on the street, ask people what development means for them, or what they understand from aid effectiveness.
I’m also looking forward to tomorrow’s meetings. While my mission is to gain a better understanding of how these meetings are reflecting youth-related issues, I am keen to see the atmosphere of the meetings. Is there an air of consensus and cooperation? Or are interests being furthered to the point of stalemate?