The Importance of Planning

Carolyn Stephenson

Professor of Population Studies, College of Social Sciences, University of Hawai'i

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003


This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

The other thing that we know is to plan ahead. Most of the work in these things is not done in these actual sessions but in the 3-4 months ahead of time: locating people, finding the right people, finding out the relationships between people was an enormous part of my work. Doing the workshop itself was easy.Plan ahead but know how to punt because in this, it was being disrupted in the last minute almost always, and you knew it was going to happen, so you had to have several kinds of plans.

For example, one of the things that I did [in Cyprus] was a Model UN. I run the Model UN in the state of Hawai'i so I thought I'd try it there. So I had a number of schools that were willing to participate in that and we did preliminary sessions and we had a day set up to run this in the Fulbright building to do this within the green line and the day before one of the teachers called up and said she'd gotten in enormous trouble because it hadn't gone through the bureaucracy on one side.

I had a separate plan because I knew that that would be likely to happen at the last minute but I didn't know the threats that would come with it. So if we couldn't do it at the Fulbright building, with all the kids together, I had places lined up on both sides where we could do it by computer. What I didn't know was that the school would prevent the kids from even doing that because they would see that as a threat, so eventually it collapsed and I had to do that with one side. You need to have multiple layers of backup to make something work, some of it is doing it parallel on both sides, some of it is knowing when to stop on one side, when to do both, when to put something off for three months, and so on.