A Return to Writing
Despite our different politics, Professor Roger Scruton provided me and my classmates at The University Professors Program with a model of how public intellectuals publish a constant inquiry into the nature of society. In working from the inside of humanitarian agencies, I have been unable to follow his path. Candor has consequences. Telling the truth about what has happened–and how it has unfolded–around my work in data analytics, data literacy, and data policy has not be possible. Some work is too sensitive; some politics too unstable; some relationships too important to risk joining in a polemic. All one can do is provide glimpses–something that (to me) has seemed incomplete and unworthy of my time.
And yet, it is time to start writing again. The forces resisting or capturing changes in the humanitarian sector are very real, and I surmise some of them will use the essays that follow to cudgel me in the future. So be it. The balance I will strike is to name those doing good work and to amplify their efforts, while calling out the general dynamics of those pushing against the shifts without necessarily crafting it in a way to attack specific persons. Compassion and calm exploration of ideas will be the key to winning trust, not angry screeds written in a tweetstorm.
So watch this space for essays on a range of topics, include the coming shifts to the nature of the CIO role in humanitarian action; the critical role of building data literacy and upskilling our field teams around data; and the need for an ethical code of conduct around data for good work.