I applied in 2008. Denied.
I repeated that process in 2009. Denied again.
In 2010, I had no intention of reapplying.
Then I got an e-mail from British American Project Fellows Jordan Shields and Kathleen Houlihan Motzenbecker urging to me to apply again. I did.
Here’s a pic of me on my way to the British American Project Conference in Philadelphia this past weekend. I made it in as a delegate, third times a charm and all that stuff.
I spent 5 days in Philadelphia with new delegates and fellows from the US and UK. What is the British America Project? It’s a coming together of Brits and Americans at an annual conference to discuss issues related to both countries. It’s been going on for 25 years. It’s Wiki page, states “The British-American Project is a fellowship of some 600 leaders and opinion formers from a broad spectrum of occupations, backgrounds and political viewpoints, drawn in equal numbers from the United States and Great Britain.” No surprise it took me three attempts.
Andy Beckett writes an interesting interpretation of BAP in The Guardian. And Joel Silver in the Los Angeles Times wrote Changing the World a drink at at time. And here’s BAP’s official web description. You can be the judge. All are worth a read. All might be true. I’m not really sure.
I attended breakfasts, sessions, lunches, informal and formal meetings and four consecutive dinners (one black tie). There were some very late nights – actually all of them were. It was exhausting on many levels. I met filmmakers, lawyers, thinkers, writers, a TV exec, a mayor, educators, diplomats, an MP, a NYPD detective, CEO’s, VP, a Managing Director and I roomed with a DJ/Broadcaster/Presenter. Somehow it all made sense. And I discovered a new favorite show, The Inbetweeners.
I arrived home today and I need a lot of time to process the entire experience. My immediate reaction has been one of slight sadness. I made genuine connections over this weekend and met people I would never have met otherwise – based on location or social status or religion or political beliefs. Like I said, it all seemed to fit together and I already miss the experience. It was worth 3 applications.
I met some people I’ll never talk to again. Some were boring (as I’m sure I was to them). Some were hilarious. Some were utterly brilliant. Many made me think. A few were eccentric. Most made me feel welcome and an integral part of the BAP delegation and conference. And a few people became friends for life.
I arrived in Philly a lucky delegate. I returned home a BAP Fellow (whatever that means 🙂 ).
Thank you to everyone involved in this year’s conference. Thank you to everyone I met. And thank you for allowing me to play Gordon Ramsay in the Delegate Revue Monday evening. Dreams do come true.
I’ll hopefully see all of you and the new delegates in London next year. Chatham House Rules.