My Top Three Picks for Summer Interships in Washington DC (as of 1:44pm, October 18, 2009)

I’m writing from the middle of the internship competition season, part I. Because of long security review periods, I have to apply for federal internships (with the Departments of State or Defense, or the Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service) by Early November 2009. NGOs which work closely with the federal government (or are highly competitive) can also have their summer internship deadlines in November. Part II of internship competition season will start around March and go until April or early May–this is where the smaller, but just as awesome, NGOs will want their applications.

I’ve been keeping my eye open for neat opportunities since this summer, but I’ve really been trolling Idealist (the best place I have found for public interest internships) for a few weeks and here are my top 3 picks (below is a description of how I chose them):

  1. Working on the Trafficking in Persons Report for the United States Department of State. This would be my favorite government publication. This has the earliest deadline (November 2nd) but, pending research, it looks like an incredible opportunity.
  2. Enhance the online presence (blog, website, forum, Facebook) of the American Islamic Congress. The internship would also involve researching student press, and lots and lots of writing. AIC a group of moderate Muslims who came together after 9/11 to propagate the political views of moderate Muslims. Just like every other group, the tails ends of the bell curve of the American Muslim community dominate our politics discourse–the AIC supports the middle of that curve. From their website, they look like an agile group which actually helps people (see Project Nur, a community of campus advocacy groups AIC supports) where I would get autonomy and have the chance to learn effective advocacy while writing every day. NOTE: AIC has no and promotes no religious views–it represents a religious group’s political views (Less 700 Club, more Episcopal Relief and Development).
  3. Writing about the human rights concerns and works of the Advocacy Project, a group which guides citizens left out of the peace conversation in their countries to speak up. They support “peace fellows” who go to countries struggling towards peace and work with advocates there to access tell their narratives, choose good exposition tools, and get funds.

This list will probably shift and flow (and there are tons of amazing internships I haven’t listed here!) but these are my top 3 picks for today.

My non-negotiables:

The organization:

  1. Must be deal with transnational issues.
  2. It must actually help people, not just do research about them.
  3. It must be trying to use new media to spread its message.

The internship:

  1. Must involve helping people access information
  2. Involve writing (for reports, blogs, press-releases)
  3. Must be in the public interest

That’s it for now!

Inspirational Quote:

“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” Dorothy Parker

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