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February 19, 2001

Internships give unique,
worldly experiences

Alexandra Katsikis is an intern in
The Carter Center’s Public Information Office

The Carter Center’s internship program offers a unique opportunity for interns to participate in the projects of world-renowned public policy and non-governmental organizations.

Founded in 1982 by President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, the center works with world leaders to promote democracy, resolve conflicts worldwide, protect human rights, eradicate disease and improve agriculture in developing countries. Each department has diverse projects in play around the world at any given time, and students have a substantial role in that work. Interns often research current events, draft policy proposals and write articles for publication.

Junior Kirtley Fisher had the invaluable opportunity to travel to Guyana as a representative of the center’s democracy program. “I really got a feel for the political atmosphere in Guyana and met people who I had only mentioned in my weekly news summaries I wrote for the program,” Fisher said. “I was no longer merely stating what a newspaper had said about the Elections Commission; rather, I was interpreting what the chairman of the Elections Commission was telling us when we met him.”

Shabnam Mallick, an intern in the Global 2000 program, studied the impact of conflicts on public health. Mallick has interned with many organizations such as the Brookings Institution in Washington and the United Nations headquarters in New York. However, Shabnam said, “None of the above preparatory experiences exposed me to the cutting edge in conflict resolution implementation that I found at the Carter Center in the Global 2000 project.”

While most interns attend Emory, others come from all over the world. Ranked by Princeton Review as one of the best internships in the nation, Carter Center interns are given the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom to a real-world experience.

“It’s a win-win situation for students and the Carter Center alike,” said Cynthia Hooks, director of educational programs. “The Carter Center benefits from the innovative and creative ideas that students, fresh from the classroom, provide. In addition, students are enthusiastic and eager to give back to society.

“A major benefit is the quality of research they provide the center,” Hooks continued. “They essentially become specialists about an assigned country, regularly talking with country contacts and following all the local and international news. In turn, students benefit from working with former diplomats and distinguished professors, and many interns develop a close mentor-student relationship that is enriching and instructive.”

Interns immerse themselves in a rich environment that, for many, lays the foundation for future goals and careers. Debbie Palmer, a Bobby Jones Scholar, said, “What I am coming away with is a clearer understanding of my capabilities—and a clearer vision of what I want to do professionally.”

Sarah Bush, an intern in the Latin American and Caribbean program, focused on Nicaragua. She was able to travel there and work closely with the observation team to gain in-depth knowledge of the country’s political situation. Bush said her internship experience made her realize the great need for the work of the Carter Center and deepened her conviction that she wants to work with NGOs in the future.

Internships are open throughout the year to college juniors, seniors, recent graduates and graduate students. About 100 interns are selected each year from approximately 250 applicants. Although most interns are not paid, they can receive academic credit.

Applications for the Carter Center’s internship program can be downloaded from the center’s website at Application deadlines are March 15 for summer internships and June 15 for fall.


Back to Emory Report Feb. 19, 2001