Tag Archives: Conflict

Edward Lynch, Latin America Security Assistance at the Center for International Policy

Edward Lynch & Nicole Martinez in front of South Lawn of the White House for Pope Francis' visit

Ted Lynch & Nicole Martinez in front of South Lawn of the White House for Pope Francis’ visit

Edward “Ted” Lynch is an MPA/MAIR student in the Maxwell School’s Public Administration and International Affairs Department.

This past fall I interned at the Center for International Policy (CIP). In the center’s Security Assistance Monitor (SAM) program, I focused on the region of Latin America, researching and writing about U.S. security assistance and military cooperation. Substantively, interning at a mid-sized think tank, within a collaboration oriented program afforded me opportunities to direct work towards my own interests as well as the more salient political developments which took place in the last half of 2015.

Most U.S. foreign policy junkies will remember 2015 as the year of the Iran Nuclear deal, the Paris bombings and the continued emergence of ISIL. By focusing on Latin America I was privy to more subtle developments in regional foreign policy.

We saw the downfall of Guatemala’s president through a corruption scandal, the recently concluded hunt for El Chapo Guzman in Mexico and closely contested elections in Argentina. The U.S. government took tougher measures with their partners in the region, withholding and reprogramming Merida Initiative security assistance to Mexico. The U.S. Department of the Treasury took the lead on tackling organized crime in Honduras, aggressively extraditing business magnates and political heavyweights in that country.

With relation to Colombia however, the U.S. backed down from longstanding extradition requests in an effort to foster peace negotiations between the FARC guerillas and the Colombian government which have been in protracted conflict for around 60 years. The U.S. has spent billions of dollars in Latin America to counter the illicit drug market, and one of my projects was to put this budget into context, comparing the amount of money transferred to the different regions of Latin America (the Andes, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean) with the global counternarcotics strategy.

Outside of my internship, I took advantage of Syracuse University’s course offerings at CSIS to expand my knowledge of geographical regions outside of my specialty with the aim of becoming a well rounded practitioner. The DC campus opens up Maxwell students to a wealth of practitioner expertise, and I was lucky enough to learn about Africa from a development practitioner and South Asia from a former Pakistani diplomat. The Maxwell staff at CSIS, Ryan Williams and Samantha Clemencé, were instrumental in helping me process my internship experience and opening the Maxwell Alumni network to me, enabling me to find work and stay in DC for my final semester.

Learn more about the Maxwell-in-Washington program

Ted Lynch(The third from the right) and the Security Assistance Monitor team at the Center for International Policy

Ted Lynch (third from right) and the Security Assistance Monitor team at the Center for International Policy

Beth Gawne Tackles Security & Nonproliferation at the State Department in DC

Beth Gawne is enjoying her life in Washington D.C.

Beth Gawne is enjoying her life in Washington D.C.

Beth Gawne spent three years teaching English in rural Japan before coming to the Maxwell School. She is a joint MPA/MAIR student who will finish with two degrees. She interned at the United States Department of State in Washington, DC and is a regular contributor to the PAIA Insider blog.

“And they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.” –Isaiah 2:4

This is a quote I saw often in a hallway of the Harry S Truman building of the State Department while I spent my Fall Semester learning about nonproliferation efforts in the US. This quote was written as a mural on the wall of the floor I worked on, and across from it was an image of a mushroom cloud from the first successful nuclear test of the Manhattan Project. It gave me inspiration and motivation as I worked in the front office of the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN), sitting in on meetings with high-level diplomats and representatives from the government, taking notes, and organizing briefing documents for the Assistant Secretary.

My time in the State Department provided me a 30,000-ft view of what the US does to prevent nuclear, biological, and chemical materials from being used as weapons, and instead to focus those efforts on peaceful means. I learned that these efforts range from formal treaties and conventions, to interdiction and export control, to even helping scientists overseas to prevent accidents or theft of dangerous materials. Even more, I learned about the slow moving machine that is the bureaucracy meant to ensure that these efforts are consistent and properly coordinated. I realized that without this, our government would spend its time responding to the latest crisis and be unable to do anything else long-term.

My job itself had me working alongside other staff assistants to make sure the leadership of the bureau was prepared for meetings and events. I got to see what makes a strong leader within the government, and I had the opportunity to work with some of the most engaging, kind, and supportive people I have ever met. I even was given a chance to do a few projects in other offices, helping with detailed data collection that was going to be used to impact a real problem on the ground. Knowing I was involved in something that would make a difference was probably one of the best parts of the internship overall. I wasn’t making copies and running to Starbucks; I was helping to communicate an argument for NATO or inform bureau officers of a country’s stance on an issue.

I was most impressed with the quality of the leadership within the bureau, and for people who have such important and high-level jobs, everyone was down-to-earth and welcoming. I’m excited to see what my future holds, and hopefully my path will cross with ISN once again— even if I’m not directly working there.

Read Beth’s latest contribution to the PAIA Insider blog:
Life as a Returning 2nd Year Student, AKA: Should you do a dual degree?

Learn more about the Maxwell-in-Washington program

Beth Gawne with friends in Washington D.C.

Beth Gawne with friends in Washington D.C.

Beth Gawne standing in front of mural on the wall of the State Department

Beth Gawne standing in front of mural on the wall of the State Department