Over the last few months, I've avoided writing about a lot of international development-related topics, because I didn't really know where they fit into my blog overall. These topics are a big part of my life, and something about which I care a lot, but - because they were all mixed in with stories about my uncles and quotes from the metro - I never really had a way to articulate what it is that matters to me in this field, where my heart lies. So I sort of cast this topic to the side, but because I missed it, I didn't really want to write that much about anything else either. (Totally productive. Right?)

"STOP WORRYING," you are saying to yourself right now. "JUST MAKE A SEPARATE BLOG."

Reader, that's what I did. And it's what you're reading.

So here it is - Hearts + Minds. I want to write about development and empathy and respect, about empowerment and the roles that communications and technology and good design can play in that process. The "hearts and minds" concept generally refers to victory by persuasion instead of force, but the kind of victory I'm interested in is collective - the progress we can make when we understand each other.

I was inspired by this quote from Lilla Watson, and actually considered calling the blog "Collective Liberation," but it turns out that that phrase has been used by several nonprofits and an author already. (Other rejected titles, in case you're wondering: "Songs of Freedom," "Medium and Message," "Me and You and Everyone We Know," "No Islands.") The "hearts and minds" concept is often attributed to LBJ, who referenced it frequently during the Vietnam War, but it actually started with John Adams, who said of the American Revolution:

"The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people."