For three months, I interned at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) in Washington, D.C. CSO’s mission is to anticipate, prevent, and respond to conflict that undermines U.S. national interests. The bureau implements this mission in two complementary ways: through data-driven analysis and forward deploying stabilization advisors to conflict zones. The objective is to inform U.S. strategy, policy, and programs on conflict prevention and stabilization.
During my internship, I’ve worked with civil servants, foreign service officers, and other experts to manage programming and provide analytical products relating to Ukraine. I have drafted documents, collated trip books, and briefed principals ahead of important interagency meetings with high-level interlocutors. Additionally, I have produced research on electoral processes and violence in post-conflict environments. Finally, my office relied on my assistance for logistical support: organizing meetings, taking notes, writing readouts, and managing tasks.
My objectives for my internship were to get exposure to public sector work, connect with conflict practitioners and grow my network of colleagues, learn new skills relating to project design, management, and monitoring, and have a positive impact on the mission of CSO. Looking back at my experience, interning for the U.S. State Department has shaped my perception of civil service in a positive way. I hope to begin my professional career within the public sector, working on supporting and delivering exciting development programs that advance the interests of the United States.
Askar Salikhov is recent graduate of the MAIR program. In pursuit of his degree, he also completed an internship with IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in Ghana during summer 2019.