Many NGOs and nonprofit organizations host free events regularly, often featuring prominent people from a wide range of professions!

Going to a free event at an NGO often includes lunch or a reception (depending on the time of day), and a lively, thought-provoking discussion from diplomats, analysts, authors, or humanitarians. And that’s just scratching the surface! Why wouldn’t you take advantage of such a unique opportunity here in Washington, D.C? Here are three NGOs and nonprofit organizations that regularly host free events at their offices:

United States Institute of Peace (USIP)

2301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 20037 The United States Institute of Peace, or USIP for short (we do love our acronyms here in Washington), works to
“provide training, analysis, and other resources to people, organizations, and governments working to build peace.”
They are an independent organization but were founded by Congress for the promotion of peace around the world. While they do have people from the organization on the ground in conflict zones and work with local partners in those zones, they also have a robust analytical team who researches, analyzes, and helps the public understand many of the world’s conflicts. If you’re interested in peace-building, want to learn about international development and diplomacy concepts, or just want to understand another country better, USIP has great events to choose from. The event calendar allows you to search for countries, issue areas, experts, and centers (meaning departments within the organization that focus on specific regions of the world) to narrow down an event most suited to your preferences. Visit USIP's website here. [caption id="attachment_9430" align="aligncenter" width="670"]free events Courtesy of usip.org[/caption]

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

1616 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 20036 The Center for Strategic and International Studies or CSIS (still loving the acronyms; learn them and get used to them) is a
“bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to providing strategic insights and policy solutions to help decision makers chart a course toward a better world.”
It’s a great reliable resource for anything and everything going on in the international world. Many people come to Washington, D.C., to work on international relations, and this organization is a must-have resource to keep yourself sharp, educated, and on top of the issues.  CSIS hosts events almost every day on a variety of different discussion topics. One of the cool things that they’ve started doing is live-streaming many of the gatherings that they hold so you can catch them from your work desk if you aren't able to make it live. The event page allows you to search by month, topic, region, program, or even author. To browse through all that CSIS does, check out their website here. [caption id="attachment_9431" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]free events Courtesy of csis.org[/caption]

Middle East Institute (MEI)

1319 18th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20036 The Middle East Institute (MEI ... here we go abbreviating everything again) is a nonprofit organization more tailored to the Middle East. However, with recent political, social, and economic events in the region, the institute has gained in popularity and now caters to a wider range of audiences. It is the oldest institution in Washington, D.C., to study and analyze the Middle East, and it prides itself on being a non-partisan source. The mission of the organization is...
“to increase knowledge of the Middle East among the citizens of the United States and to promote a better understanding between the people of these two areas.”
They host events regularly to help people understand history and modern issues, as well as what the future holds for this part of the world. Because the focus of this organization is more specific than the other two, MEI tends to put on events slightly less frequently, but they also tend to be bigger, so make sure that you get to the institute with plenty of time to grab a seat. On the event page, you can see upcoming events, as well as past events, for which you can get a detailed summary. There’s also an option to subscribe to their mailing list to stay updated on anything coming up. Interested in learning more about MEI? Head to their website for all things Middle East. [caption id="attachment_9432" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]free events Courtesy of mei.edu[/caption] Have you been to any of these free events before? Have another organization that’s a great resource for professionals? Let us know in the comments below!

Here are three happening event venues for your next big party!