Took a bit of time off work this morning to attend an event at the Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA) at Portland Place with regard to the future of the UK-US Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA).
What a wonderful surprise to have at the event a visit from the President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) - Emily Grandstaff-Rice - who is also an old classmate of mine!
Keep doing the great work being an excellent voice for our profession Madame President!
Getting back to the MRA - it is basically a cross-recognition of UK and US qualifications as being generally equivalent, to allow for the smoothing of the path for architects to practice reciprocally in each others countries.
In attendance were a good variety of architects who would benefit from this arrangement, a number of whom I consider good friends and have been waiting a while for something like this to come to pass - in some cases even decades!
But those of us who are able to make the most of these kind of developments are, I imagine, a very small and very fortunate minority. I could not help but wonder about the unspoken sentiment amongst those for whom the MRA would not be seen as a positive thing? I would argue that as architects it is our responsibility to always be considering the bigger and wider picture beyond our own personal worlds.
Striving for excellence - is a good thing. Learning from one another across borders - is a good thing. Reducing the tensions that can lead to xenophobia - is a good thing. Will the MRA help with these? I would very much hope so. Although, I am no crystal ball (as they say, I'd otherwise be very rich).
A footnote: In reflecting on this, I have been greatly aided (if perhaps biased or enlightened) by the writing of British economist Bernard Connolly on the history of the European Exchange-Rate Mechanism (ERM) - what was the precursor to the formation of the euro. This might sound like something out of left field, and I am not at all trying to compare this MRA to the hugely more complex development of the ERM or international monetary policy in general, but I have found Connolly to do a brilliant job at recreating the history of those cross-border negotiations, cutting at underlying motivations, and reflecting on the economic and cultural aftermath. I don't want to mention the title of the the book (as it is a bit polemical) but for anyone interested, just google his name.