I attending the AIPAC Policy Conference in DC last Sunday-Tuesday. AIPAC is a pro-Israel lobby, and this was my first time attending their annual policy conference event. Sunday and Monday were a combination of large plenary sessions and break-out sessions with more specific topics. Tuesday was a lobbying day. Since I was staying with a friend, I took the metro to the conference. From door to door, it took me about 40-45 minutes to get there in the morning. I liked the commute since it gave a chance to read on the train and walk a little on my way to and from the metro stops. The weather was a little chilly but still beautiful:
One of my biggest concerns heading into the conference was my wardrobe. I dress casually for work, so I don’t have a lot of business attire. In particular, shoes are an issue because I have very finicky feet and shoes with bad support cause me a lot of discomfort. The solution I settled on was to wear my sneakers to the conference and change later:
I took the Red Line from Friendship Heights to Gallery Place/Chinatown.
The Subway was full of Tropicana-inspired encouragements:
When I got off at Chinatown, I found that the area was marked with an impressive entryway…
…but it seemed to be mostly western restaurants with Chinese lettering:
I’m excited to say though that it’s my year – along with all those other 1989 babies:
When I got to the convention center I went through security…
…and set off to explore. The convention center is HUGE. The lowermost level was converted into ‘AIPAC Village’ with tons of tables, kosher food options, and I variety of displays and showcases.
I made my quick transformation to a well-dressed lady:
Unfortunately, during this change of footwear I somehow lost the socks I had been wearing with my sneakers. Luckily, I discovered them later that afternoon hiding under a table in the village:
Silly. In the afternoon I was desperately in need of a pick-me-up, so I used a break between sessions to track down a Starbucks:
There were a lot of protestors outside the convention center:
I won’t go into the controversy here, but if you want to learn more I would suggest visiting AIPAC’s website and using the research capabilities of the interwebs (as Noah would say).
Although you might not expect it, Minnesota had a 100-person delegation at the conference. To recognize the group, there was a Minnesota Delegation dinner on Sunday night. It was delicious!
Monday morning Joe Biden came to speak, so security was a lot heavier given the addition of the secret service. Look at these lines!:
Tragically, one of the forbidden items to bring in was whole fruit, so my apple was confiscated. 😦 Looks like I wasn’t the only though:
Goodbye, fruit – I will miss you! When good ol’ Joe finally appeared he was greeted with a very warm reception:
As you can see, there were a lot of people – 13,000 attendees!
Unfortunately, my feet had caused me problems during the conference’s first day, so I decided to just wear my running shoes and not worry about what people thought:
Definitely a good call comfort-wise. Plus, I wasn’t alone – look what I found later in the day:
Overall, I’m glad I went to the conference and enjoyed the plenary sessions. The breakouts were fairly hit or miss depending on the speaker, and if I go again I think I will try to do a little research about what would be the best sessions.