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Washington DC – Day 45 (July 7, 2005): World Bank Tour

Today, I had the opportunity to tour the World Bank. The tour is organized once every month, the first Thursday of the month. My friend from St. Louis, Fari Nasution, and I met up at the IMF Center for the tour. Fari had also moved to DC from St. Louis, precisely one week earlier than I did. We regularly schedule to do Friday prayer together at the Indonesian Embassy [though it would prove a 1.5-hour lunch break].

The walking tour covers the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the OAS (Organisation of American States), and the World Bank. The tour began at the IMF Center and would last for 4 hours (from 10 am to 2 pm). It was a very informative experience. Until then, I only learned about the IMF and World Bank either from a factbook perspective or leftist literature. So, this was the opportunity to listen from their point of view.

I thought the IMF part was the best since the speaker, though an economist, was able to explain the function of IMF in a very understandable way, and that was a good thing since most of the tour participants were not economists themselves. In contrast, the World Bank speaker lost us through economic jargon and statistical mumbo-jumbo. It felt like a performance report rather than conversational lectures of the IMF and the OAS. Plus, the World Bank had this complicated security checkpoint compared to the other two organizations. On the other hand, OAS didn’t fit in the whole scheme, in my opinion. It’s more like a regional organization rather than an economic one, so when they claim to be a sister organization to World Bank and the IMF, I still don’t see it. Truthfully, OAS is a more fitting sister to ASEAN, EU, or even Mercosur.

Oh, and the buildings where these institutions are housed were quite a spectacle in their own right. Though the IMF building doesn’t stand out and probably looks the most typical (just like another office building), there is a Garuda statue in its lobby, a gift from the government of Indonesia. The OAS building is the oldest and has a very ethnic architecture which strikes a massive contrast with the modern World Bank building predominated with glass and steel.

For more information on the tour, you can view them here.

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