IRQ Articles

Executive director's column

01-17-2017 16:12

Destination D.C.: It’s a new year and SIR 2017 is here…welcome to our town!


Each year for SIR’s Annual Scientific Meeting, our staff fly to the event destination, set things up and do our very best to make sure members and supporters enjoy a superior IR education and networking experience. But this March, we will break from this routine to have the distinct pleasure of welcoming you to “our town,” Washington, D.C., a city with simultaneous international and neighborhood appeal.

Everyone in D.C. has a different perspective on what our new president and his administration might bring—the anticipation is palpable. What you can count on from us this spring is a hearty welcome to SIR 2017 by longtime and new SIR staff who are eager to help you make the most of your time here by sharing some of their favorite D.C. sites, neighborhoods and restaurants. We’ve included a few here for your consideration and will be posting many more to the new e-IRQ.

Speaking of which, if you have yet seen the new digital version of SIR’s quarterly magazine, be sure to check it out within the SIR Connect community at Besides the vibrant presentation of IRQ content, the new e-IRQ will contain previews and special content not found in the print addition, in addition to member commentary and social sharing of features articles and columns.

New beginnings can’t happen without endings, and I am proud of the many accomplishments that our society and foundation realized as part of the five-year strategic planning process that concluded this year. The plan brought clarity and momentum to an array of policy, economics, education, communications and research goals.

We will share the narrative of this progress with you in our upcoming 2016 annual report (watch for it in March) and in my executive director’s report at the annual Members Business meeting (Tuesday, March 7, 12–1 p.m.) at SIR 2017.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this first selection of SIR “staff picks” to complement your time at SIR 2017, March 2–7 in Washington, D.C. I’ll see you there!


Experience Washington, D.C., the SIR way | Staff picks

Carolyn Strain, executive director, SIR Foundation
Ice skating at The National Gallery of Art in the Sculpture Garden—“This place is small and cute and perfect if you want to find a unique way to unwind and experience the art, culture and vibe of DC. The best plan of action: go at the bottom of the hour, grab a mulled wine from the pavilion café at the rink, buy your tickets, and then tour the sculpture garden until your two-hour skate time is ready at the top of the hour.”

Elena Coler, journal manager
Embassy Row—“Classy, stately and stylish architecture and natural beauty in a pedestrian-friendly section of D.C., where most embassies are
Madame Tussauds—DC’s celebrity wax attraction. “Here, you can snap the perfect selfie with your favorite music stars, film legends, sporting greats, historical icons and local heroes.”

Susie Evenden, manager, exhibits and corporate relations
The Library of Congress—“The art and architecture alone are stunning.”
Founding Fathers, farm-to-table restaurant—“I love the unique dishes and drinks and the comfortable contemporary style.”

Christian Lopez, corporate relations associate
Kramerbooks and Afterwords—“This over-stuffed bookstore is open until very late–the hang-out of choice for night-owls wanting a more contemplative experience. There are also a bar and full-service restaurant inside, for those who want to marry their eating and drinking to the pleasure of being near books.”

Liz Willson, senior director, health policy and economics
Hillwood Museum and Gardens—“Visit the former mansion of Marjorie Merriweather Post used for diplomatic entertaining and housing her unparalleled collection of French and Russian decorative arts. The gardens are beautiful and diverse, including a Japanese garden, a ‘Friendship’ garden, and an extensive cutting garden and lawns.”    

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