My parents really instilled in me a sense of doing work for yourself but also for the greater good. My first job in Washington as an intern was working on light weapons trade and arms trade and that was interesting to me, but I can't say it ever captured my imagination, as important as it is.
Then, I received an opportunity because I was rejected for a job. The people who rejected me passed my resume on to somebody else who worked in nuclear. They told me they were interested in bringing me on, and I remember thinking at the time that I was really not sure, not because I didn't think nuclear issues were important or interesting, but it was really scary. I am child of the Cold War. I grew up in the '80s and I literally used to wake up with nightmares that we were being bombed by the Russians.
I remember they used to interrupt television with statements like, “We now interrupt this program with breaking news, here is our anchor in New York,” and there would be this long beep. Every single time one of those came on I thought it was nuclear war. I mean I was terrified.
So, when the opportunity came to work on this, I was intrigued but also scared. I think that maybe that experience, really having this visceral memory of feeling like this threat is real is probably what kept me engaged as we went forward. Then, once I got into the field, I was hooked.
COLLETT: Wow, that does really personalize the issue. Working on global issues has given you the chance to do a lot of travel. What's been your favorite trip, and what has been your most memorable trip?
HINDERSTEIN: I am so lucky to be able to travel for work, and my husband and I choose to travel for pleasure, too. I have visited 45 countries (and Taiwan) at last count, and I have two more new ones already planned for 2019. I think my favorite place is Vienna. I mean obviously Vienna is a beautiful city with great food and architecture and art and everything else, but it's a place where I’ve found my rhythm. When you go to a place regularly, you know how the subway works, where the shops are that you like, the restaurants you enjoy, how the work dynamic is with your professional colleagues, and that kind of thing. I mean, I can't count the number of times I have been to Vienna because of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Also so many other events are hosted in Vienna because the IAEA is there. So, I would say that it's probably my favorite place, because it's comfortable and at that same time very different from home.