Leah Knobel Furthers Understanding of Human Rights

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a private, non profit organization dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year, NED makes more than 1,600 grants to support the projects of non-governmental groups abroad who work for democratic goals in more than 90 countries.

Leah Knobel at NED
Leah Knobel at NED

This summer, I had the opportunity to serve in the Endowment’s Office for Governmental Relations and Public Affairs; the office is responsible for maintaining relationships and strengthening NED’s reputation with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to advocate for our annual appropriation, as well as all communication functions of the organization.

As an intern, I worked on a diverse set of initiatives and projects. On a weekly basis, my responsibilities included cultivating a weekly update of legislation and hearings of relevance to NED, writing memos for hearings attended on the Hill, fulfilling FOIA requests, scheduling meetings with lawmakers and their staff, and assisting the public affairs team with communications outreach. I also worked on several long-term projects, including an extensive media list and the digitization of NED’s Annual Report .

I was fortunate to attend some of the Endowment’s major events. My first week coincided with NED’s annual Democracy Awards, which honored three defenders of human and religious rights in China. The Endowment regularly hosts discussions, panels, and guest speakers at its office; I attended countless events featuring experts in the areas of democracy promotion and human rights.

My experience with NED has helped refine and further my understanding of the world’s most pressing human rights issues and how the Endowment addresses them by supporting civil society movements abroad. My exposure to government and congressional relations work was by far one of the most valuable takeaways of my summer–the insight into Capitol Hill and the skills gained will serve me well into the future as a public diplomacy professional.

Leah Knobel is a MAIR/MSPR student at the Maxwell and Newhouse Schools at Syracuse University.

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Mark Aludino Delves Into Supply Chains in Singapore

With its bustling ports and world-class airport, Singapore functions as a hub in the Southeast Asian region. As such, goods transit through the island making it a haven for logistics companies, such as the YCH Group, where I interned for the summer. This opportunity to be part of Singapore’s largest home-grown supply chains company served to complement the year I spent at the Maxwell School under the MAIR program.

As an intern for the Consumer Lifestyle and E-Commerce Department, I was tasked to provide oversight on the company’s budding e-commerce hub, which provides added-value services for various consumer goods. With this responsibility, I split time handling business development affairs at the office level and experiencing first-hand the e-commerce operations at the warehouse. Through this attachment, I observed the intricate links in the supply chain process that enables an order made online to be delivered to the end-customer. What seemingly looks like a straightforward flow is riddled with partnerships and sharing of responsibilities between different stakeholders, from the producer to the warehouse team to the last-mile provider.

Mark Aludino at YCH Group
Mark Aludino (left) with a fellow SU student intern

During my stay, I regularly produced and updated two outputs: the E-Commerce Issue Log and the Evaluation of YCH’s Last-Mile Service Provider. In the log, I highlighted the concerns that negatively affected the timeliness and accuracy of the picking, sorting, and packing of products while informing the department of the most common problems as reflected in the statistics I provided. Even more, in the evaluation of the firm’s last-mile partner, I kept track of their performance to ensure that they are meeting the agreed-upon requirements. In fact, one of the highlights of my internship was presenting these data in a high-level meeting with our last-mile partner.

While I was mainly attached to the e-commerce arm, I was also brought in to provide my insight on contracts, where my governance training proved handy. It was then that I realized that there is a need to balance parity and business decision-making under this private setting. Overall, through SU’s Singapore Program, I increased my knowledge of logistics and service provision, which are crucial in international development.

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Mark Aludino (2nd from left) and fellow Singapore program students.
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Abbie Champeau, Al Akhawayn University in Morocco

Since departing from Syracuse in mid-August, I have been a participant in AMIDEAST’s direct enroll program at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane. The first portion of the program took place in Morocco’s political and administrative capital, Rabat, and included a 10-day cultural immersion seminar. During this time, I was provided with a background in the Moroccan dialect of Arabic, Darija, in addition to taking several classes pertaining to Moroccan culture and history. Moreover, while in Rabat I was given the opportunity to live with a host family and experience inter-cultural communication in an immersive and highly rewarding manner (while also enjoying the most delicious home cooking I have ever been graced with).

Abbie Champeau in the Sahara Desert near Merzouga

Following this orientation, I arrived at Al Akhwayan, a university situated high in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, only about an hour from Fes, the country’s bustling cultural center. Embracing the American model of higher education, Al Akhwayan operates entirely in English and offers a vast variety of courses at the graduate level. The university provides students with a wide range of political science, history, and anthropology classes — particularly those concerning the Middle East and North Africa, religious studies, diplomatic negotiation, and international relations as a broadened study. As a frame of reference, I am currently enrolled in four courses: Global Islam in the Contemporary, Middle Eastern Politics, History of North Africa, and finally, Security & Foreign Policy of the Middle Eastern States. Thus far, I have very much enjoyed the academic experience I have been offered through AUI. I have found the professors to be knowledgeable and accommodating and the courses they teach to be both rigorous and rewarding.

In addition, Al Akhwayan was founded with the unique mission of providing a venue for intercultural exchange among students of secondary education. As such, AUI privileges the notion of global education and places particular emphasis on its international exchange programs. As a result, AUI effectively fosters a large community of students from both local regions and abroad, creating a student body comprised of individuals from numerous diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Well on this program I have also had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Morocco and other Maghrebi countries. I have been lucky enough to witness the beauty of the region first-hand while simultaneously discovering a new and exciting culture.

As a MAIR student focused on the Middle East and North Africa, I find that my time at Al Akhwayan has been incredibly gratifying. As I reflect on my experience, I truly believe that this program has unequivocally enriched my understanding of the complexities and richness surrounding my regional interests.

With a background in the Arabic language, Abbie Champeau is a MAIR student focusing on MENA.

Abbie Champeau on a camel in the Sahara Desert near Merzouga
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Adam Sawyer Works on World Migration Report for IOM

As a UN-related agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is charged with coordinating with States, NGOs, and international organizations to ensure that migration occurs in a safe, orderly, regular, and humane fashion. I’ve been completing an internship in IOM’s Migration Policy Research Division, the office that guides and informs the international migration policy arena based on the expertise collected from all over the world.

Much of my time over my internship has been focused on the flagship publication of IOM,  World Migration Report 2020. As we approach the final months before the Report’s release date in December, sources need verification, visuals need a second look, and the digit of every number needs to be checked against the referenced statistic. Since many academic institutions trust IOM outputs as the backstop for their own publications, IOM must ensure that the reporting of all empirical findings passes the highest level of scrutiny.

IOM does an excellent job at ensuring that interns receive a professional experience that is rigorous. Already, significant research responsibilities have come to my desk, including the drafting of country migration briefs and data visualization for various publications. In addition, I am one of the coordinating IOM officials responsible for organizing and marketing the IOM Headquarters Lunchtime Seminars, a monthly event in which a visiting scholar gives a presentation, a Q&A session, and an interview on a topic related to migration. By December, I will be supporting the research team as it prepares for the meeting of the IOM Council as well as preparations for the first Global Refugees Forum, all taking place here in Geneva.

Work and home life share common themes. In Geneva, since nearly everyone comes from a different part of the world, the topic of migration is never far from discussion. I came here hoping to learn more about the European experience of migration as a sort of case study that could be compared with the policy response seen in the United States. Already, I’ve learned so much.

Adam Sawyer is a MAIR student who has been interning at IOM since last summer. He will graduate in December with six months experience interning at IOM and after completing a course in Geneva featuring high profile guest speakers from the international system.

Adam Sawyer Overlooking Geneva
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Johnathan Medina Researches Fintech in Southeast Asia for the EU

This past summer I interned with the European Institute for Asian Studies in Brussels where I worked as a Junior Researcher. EIAS was formed in 1989 and aims to contribute to the dialogue and improve relations between the EU and Asia. EIAS is a small organization where interns are given a great deal of responsibility from conducting our own research projects for the institute’s website to assisting with the logistics of events we held for Asian representatives.

Johnathan Medina (3 from R) with fellow interns and EIAS employees.

Given my technology background and EIAS wanting to focus more on the area, my summer projects focused on Financial Technology in Southeast Asia and how the EU can play a role. I had the opportunity previously to travel throughout Southeast Asia and work as an English teacher in Beijing.  This firsthand experience made researching the subject much more enjoyable and valuable experience. I appreciated the chance to work as a researcher and write papers that can be read by such a large audience. A big part of my internship was also networking with government and business officials who we hosted events for. It was eye-opening learning from their perspectives and experience and something that will be helpful throughout my career.

The most enjoyable aspect of my interest was getting to know my co-workers who were all incredibly talented. Each one of us came from a different country, which really helped to bring other perspectives into our conversations. I feel I learned the most just from our everyday conversations and it was something I really enjoyed. Overall my experience at EIAS was better than I could have imagined and will certainly help me as I transition long-term into my career.

Johnathan Medina is an MAIR student currently completing his degree in the Maxwell-in-Washington Program.

Maxwell MAIR students Federico Ohle (2 from L), Johnathan Medina (3 from L), Michaela Eagan (2 from R), and other SU students in Brussels with Program Director, George Terzis (far R).
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Molly Martin, Strategic Communications at USAID

This summer I had the opportunity to put my public diplomacy classes to work at the United States Agency for International Development in Washington, D.C. As a Strategic Communications intern in the Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs, I got help tell USAID’s story to the American people and the world.

LPA is responsible for managing and coordinating the Agency’s external affairs, making it the perfect spot for me as I work towards a dual degree in Public Relations and International Relations in the Public Diplomacy program at Syracuse. Although there was no “typical day” in LPA, my main responsibilities included everything from editing blog posts from USAID missions around the world (like this one from North Macedonia), to pitching and writing my own blogs, to building social media toolkits for Agency newsletters, to joining high-level meetings with senior leadership and external partners.

LPA serves as USAID’s central point of contact with Congress, the media, and the international development community, which gave me a lot of exposure to many different parts of the development space. The LPA team encourages their interns to take advantage of the countless think tank panels, Congressional hearings, and USAID events happening around town, which really helped me connect what I was learning in the classroom to the real world.

Some of the highlights include representing USAID at Congressional hearings on the Ebola outbreak in the DRC and protests in Somalia (see if you can spot me in Rep. Bass’s tweet), attending a talk by Nobel Laureate and human rights activist Nadia Murad, and helping USAID’s Democracy, Human Rights and Governance team launch the new US Government Strategy for Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity at the White House.

Molly Martin working hard at the launch of the new USG Strategy for Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity at
the White House.

Although I was nearly 400 miles away from campus, I still felt close to SU. One of the best parts of my DC experience was connecting with Syracuse alums and students based in the area. Their advice and insight into DC life has been so helpful throughout the summer and as I get ready to finish my degree in Washington this spring!

Molly Martin at USAID
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Michaela Eagan, Cultural Diplomacy in Brussels

Interning at the Cultural Diplomacy Platform this summer I had a front-row seat to the EU’s implementation of the EU Strategy for international cultural relations. As an instrument of the European Commission, the Platform was launched in 2014 to engage third countries and their citizens through the medium of culture.

Prior to my internship, the Platform had received two requests for literary exchanges in 2018 and two more for the fall of 2019. Since literary exchanges were a new development for the Platform, with more anticipated requests in the future, I was tasked with developing a policy recommendation report on how to evaluate exchange requests, choose appropriate literary actors and measure the outcomes and success of the exchange. As a new initiative, my goal was to set out a policy framework to conduct purposeful cultural diplomacy within the literary sector.

In tandem with this project, I worked with the European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL), Creative Europe and Literature Across Frontiers to bring award-winning authors to the New Delhi World Book Fair and the Guadalajara International Book Fair.

My internship provided me the opportunity to attend the annual European Development Days — a two-day event that brings together actors in the development sector from around the world to exchange ideas and innovations as well as debate the globe’s greatest development needs. Culture, gender, sustainability, inequality, healthcare, technology and politics were topics of discussion.

As a Public Diplomacy student, it was a rewarding experience to take theories out of the classroom and implement them in tangible ways through the day-to-day activities of cultural diplomacy.

Michaela Eagan is pursuing a joint MAIR/MSPR at the Maxwell and Newhouse Schools at Syracuse University.

From left: Johnathan Medina, Michaela Eagan and Frederico Ohle in front of the St. Michael Statue Fountain at Sainte Catherines, Brussels
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Linsey Armstrong Empowers Women in U.S. Foreign Policy

The Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI) at the U.S. Department of State seeks to promote the rights and empowerment of women and girls through U.S. foreign policy. S/GWI’s priority areas include: women, peace and security; adolescent girls; women’s economic empowerment; and gender-based violence. This spring, I had the opportunity to serve this office as one of two interns for the semester.

As an intern, I worked on numerous events and initiatives for the office including the 2019 International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award and the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. For these events and initiatives, I drafted talking points and other communications, as well as assisted with event planning, scheduling and coordination. I was also able to represent the office at public outreach events like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s International Women’s Day Forum and attend sessions at the 2019 Spring Meeting of the World Bank/IMF. Additionally, this internship provided me with opportunities to learn about press relations when volunteering for IWOC and the 70th NATO Ministerial.

Linsey Armstrong

Throughout my internship, I followed a rotation system that allowed me to shadow members of our functional policy, programming and regional teams. This rotation system was incredibly helpful, as I was able to gain strong insight into how intraoffice teams collaborate and work together to advance the S/GWI’s priorities. Throughout these rotations, I was invited to attend meetings with other DOS bureaus and civil society organizations, as well as work on substantive projects for each team. These experiences provided me a comprehensive view of U.S. foreign policy making and programming efforts.

My experience working for S/GWI was incredibly rewarding and helped me grow in countless ways. I was able to refine and further my understanding of multilateral fora and international organizations, foreign policy, issues affecting women and girls, and governmental communications processes. I was also able to develop writing, research and organizational skills. Working in a diverse office with passionate and intelligent advocates who work to champion women globally was incredible. This internship also provided me with great insight into the work of the U.S Department of State and the U.S. government as a whole.

Linsey Armstrong graduated with a joint MA International Relations and MS Public Relations (MAIR/MSPR) degree in May 2019. During the spring, she interned at the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State as part of the Washington Public Diplomacy Program.

Linsey Armstrong attending the 2019 International Women of Courage Award ceremony and reception, featuring special guests Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and First Lady of the United States Melania Trump.

Linsey Armstrong Reaches Global Audiences

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Yue Chen Has Front Row Seat on US-China Trade

Over the spring, I served as a communications intern at the US-China Business Council (USCBC) in Washington, DC. USCBC is a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of approximately 200 American companies that do business with China. Its mission is to expand the US-China commercial relationship to the benefit of its membership and, more broadly, the US economy.

Based on my background in international relations and public relations, I helped the communications & publications team at USCBC with daily news updates and social media management. I also helped interview Chinese scholars and translate documents into English for the publication in USCBC’s digital magazine – the China Business Review. Since the U.S. levied its first round of punitive tariffs in 2018, tensions have emerged between the U.S. and China, becoming a major global concern. It was a valuable opportunity for me to intern at USCBC around this period of time as I was able to obtain the first-hand materials and pay close attention to US-China trade issues.

In addition, I was very fortunate to have joined and helped with USCBC’s events and gained precious insights on US-China relations. When Chinese Premier Liu He visited Washington, DC for trade talks with President Trump on January 31, USCBC held its premier conference – Forecast 2019 – on China’s business and political environment and discussed the prospects of trade negotiations. On the Forecast, experts from think tanks, the US Senate and the US House of Representatives talked about the most focused on issues about US-China relations such as cybersecurity, intellectual property, tariffs and subsidies, etc. USCBC also co-hosted the US-China Innovation Forum with CSIS, where American and Chinese representatives from industry, finance, government and think tanks discussed how to best foster, protect, and advance innovation.

Thanks to the Maxwell DC Program, I am here to pursue my public diplomacy practice at the heart of global policy in Washington, DC. Interning at USCBC was a great chance for me to explore US-China trade relations and lay the foundation for my future career.

USCBC Forcast 2019 conference

Yue Chen is a recent alum of the joint MAIR/MSPR degree where she studied at the prestigious Maxwell and Newhouse Schools at Syracuse University. She formerly interned at Temasek’s Stewardship Asia Centre through SU’s Summer Internships in Singapore program.

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Arpan Dahal Supports Global Witness on Capitol Hill

When founded in 1993, Global Witness was a pioneer in seeing the link between natural resources, conflict, and corruption. Since then Global Witness has fearlessly worked for protecting human rights and the environment by confronting corruption and challenging the systems that enable it.

My interests include working on policy issues and field that involves interaction. My Fall internship at Global Witness has been rewarding for many reasons. I have been exposed to different levels of policy efforts and got to engage with people from diverse fields. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Global Witness where I assisted with publications and reports on anti-money laundering and corruption and their policy solutions. Conducting research to support advocacy with policy advisors and outreach to strategic constituencies helped me get exposure to policy areas. Furthermore, I learned about the cycles a bill goes through and the steps involved in between.

I was fortunate to support Global Witness’ presence on Capitol Hill as a thought-leader and issue expert on priorities. I was also involved in a coalition called FACT that Global Witness is part of. Here I learned more about how multiple organizations working towards the same goal cooperate and overcome the challenges to succeed. Attending Senate hearings regularly and getting involved in current affairs added to my existing knowledge and skills set. I believe the experience at Global Witness has made me a better thinker and a better problem solver. Working with law enforcement communities and other allies was a bonus which was an exciting experience.

Arpan Dahal is a recent graduate of the MAIR program. He also interned at the Institute of International Finance during Spring 2019.

Arpan Dahal working at Global Witness
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