During the summer 2021 term, I completed a remote internship at the Council of Europe in the Roma and Travellers Division. The Council of Europe is an international human rights organization based in Strasbourg, France with 47 member states (27 of which are EU member states). Its work encompasses various policy areas including gender equality, education, and minority rights. My internship allowed me to explore these topics, among others.
This internship allowed me to gain firsthand experience within an organization I previously studied in my International Human Rights and Comparative Disability Law (LAW 889) class. In that course, I completed a research paper utilizing Council of Europe primary documents about Roma education in the Czech Republic. So, the opportunity to intern with the Roma and Travellers team aligned perfectly with my interests and prior coursework.
Although I couldn’t complete the internship in person due to pandemic restrictions, I was able to gain valuable experience in different projects. I researched national drug legislation and drug policy for several member states and drafted a background analysis for each. I also researched member states’ Roma inclusion strategies relating to drug policy and healthcare. My other projects gave me exposure to topics including gender equality and women’s rights, as I contributed to the formatting, proofing, and editing of formal research studies on these topics. I was also able to attend organizational meetings for future Council of Europe conferences and gained insight into the planning and coordination with different actors including national governments, NGOs, and other international organizations. I was also able to attend Council of Europe conferences including the Steering Committee on Anti-Discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion (CDADI).
In sum, I gained valuable exposure to and understanding of a prominent international human rights organization. This supports my academic and future career interests as I continue pursuing my MAIR degree on the governance, diplomacy, and international organizations track with a Certificate of Advanced Study in the EU region. I hope to one day visit the Council of Europe and my colleagues in person—until then, I will appreciate this unique summer experience.
Emily DiMatteo is currently continuing rights based work by interning at Human Rights Watch and as a Fellow at the Arc of the United States. She is an MAIR student expected to graduate in December.