Welcome to my blog everybody! My summer adventure has been underway for a few weeks now, so I have a lot to get caught up on.
(The official theme song for this post can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYutrvZZ7IY )
A bit of background information to fill all of you in…
Laying the foundations – There are two other Loggers who have completed the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ (NCUSAR) internship program in Washington, D.C. before me: Kammi Sheeler (’11) and Isaac Olson (’13). Professor Patrick O’Neil mentioned in one of his classes that it was highly-rated program, and Puget Sound students had gotten into the program in the last two years, so I decided to go for it. I applied to NCUSAR back in early March and was accepted in late April. The National Council then sent my résumé to a few different employers that were somehow tied to American-Arab relations. A small NGO called the American Friends of UNRWA (AFU) interviewed me and offered me a job as their Advocacy Intern, and I was happy to accept. In a nutshell, I work at AFU five day each week, and I take classes and do site visits around D.C. with NCUSAR on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
A brief overview of the key-characters in my life right now:
National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) – they’ve been around since 1981 using education to promote stronger, healthier relationships between the United States and all 22 Arab countries. Their internship program is one of many they have, including high school and college-level Model Arab Leagues, conferences on U.S.-Arab relations, and fellowships that bring academicians, congressional representatives, and business professionals on trips to key Arab institutions and organizations in the Middle East and in the United States. Their founder, Dr. John Duke Anthony, conducts most of the internship seminars.
The American Friends of UNRWA (AFU) – AFU is a non-profit using education and fundraising to support the work of UNRWA, the United Nations agency charged with providing protection, education, and other essential services to refugees and their descendents originating from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War (… or War of Independence, whichever you prefer). I’m their Advocacy Intern, which is a pretty flexible title. I run their social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.), produce and edit videos from events we’ve hosted, and conduct research on issues facing Palestinian refugees. We operate out of a small office on K Street in downtown DC. There are two full-time employees and two interns.