For my fourth and final co-op I worked as an intern in the Conflict Resolution Program: Africa, in the Carter Center. I divided my time between two programs: Liberia and Sudan/South Sudan, which has given me an opportunity to better understand the current political, social, and economic situation in these countries. Everyday I arrive at 8:00 a.m. and I am usually the first one at the office. I begin by working on the Daily News Updates, which is looking through various news sources and compiling a list of the most important articles related to Eritrea, Ethiopia, Liberia, South Sudan, and Sudan. On Mondays and Fridays we have team meetings during which I take detailed notes and write up minutes to share with my coworkers. The rest of the days I will work on doing research for a variety of projects.
Much of my work surrounds research. During my first week at the Center I was able to sit down with my supervisor and talk about my interests. I appreciated his attempt to create an environment where I am passionate about the work that I do. We decided that I would work on various projects involving gender conflict resolution and national dialogues. Thus, most days I sit at the “Intern Pavilion”, a round, open room where all the interns work, and research. Unfortunately I do not have permission to disclose more information on my research. However, I can say that while doing my work I have found the topics to be incredibly interesting.
The Carter Center Internship Program has been developed to create a growing, productive environment for its interns. We are encouraged to attend various talks, meetings, discussion panels, and seminars focused on professional growth or on an area that would help us with our research/work. During my time here I have been able to attend a multitude of meetings/seminars. For example, one of the discussion panels talked about the eradication of the Guinea Worm in certain African countries, while another was about gender dynamics in the work place. However, by far the most interesting seminar was on the current political situation in Latin America. The discussion panel had Vice Presidents, House Speakers, Diplomats, Ambassadors, and experts on the topics and I was lucky enough to hear their perspectives. Another event was having coffee with the Center’s CEO, Ambassador Peters. I found this event incredibly useful for my professional growth because I would like to go into diplomacy. Ambassador Peters gave us some great advise and has really helped me narrow down “next steps” in my career path. Another interesting thing about the Center is the nonchalant attitude when seeing President and Mrs. Carter. The first time Mrs. Carter and her secret service walked through the “Intern Pavilion” all of the inters stopped working and simply stared at her. Meanwhile, the rest of the Center’s staff simply continued on with their work. The Carter family is a staple of the Center and are incredibly involved with our activities, such as attending a potluck or simply having lunch with the interns. Moreover, every intern is allowed to submit two books for President Carter to personalize and sign. So far, I have felt that my everyday work contributes to the Carter Center team. I am delighted that this is my final co-op, because it seems like a perfect “wrap up” of my co-op experience. I know that this internship will be a positive contribution to my resume and I hope to be able to get a good recommendation letter for graduate school from my supervisor.