April 1, 2006
I have wanted to work in the Foreign Service since my 9th grade history teacher (a Hamilton grad, actually) told us about all his amazing experiences working in Soviet Russia, Thailand, France, and Burma. Though the Foreign Service doesn’t take interns, the State Department does. Last July I applied, in November I underwent my secret level security clearance, and now I am a full-fledged unpaid intern in the Department of State.
I work in International Information Programs, whose mission is to inform and engage the foreign audience on American policy and society. Some call it propaganda, I call it fair and balanced public diplomacy. I specifically work in the Europe and Eurasia division, which includes Western Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Russia. As we learned last week, it also includes Bermuda, which is still technically owned by the British. The Europe and Eurasia division just "lost the 'stans'", as my boss put it- Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. They are now in "South and Central Asia" for IIP purposes.
My internship is incredible. Each day, the five members of the Europe and Eurasia division each write an article about a U.S. policy, or official U.S. responses to events in European countries. These articles are published in the online publication The Washington File (www.usinfo.state.gov/eur) and actually serve as a great resource for U.S. policy. I get to write these articles once in a while.
Every week I write our "weekly news quiz" based on the Europe articles for the week. Here's my latest news quiz: http://usinfo.state.gov/eur/europe_eurasia/news_quizes/news_quiz.html. It will certainly keep most of you on your toes about foreign affairs and U.S. policy.
I also organize web chats, where I recruit a famous think tank scholar, professor, athlete, or government official to be the guest of a global Internet discussion. My favorite one so far has been with U.S. women’s soccer team player Cat (Reddick) Whitehill. I write all the publicity and press releases for these chats.
Sometimes I go to the Pentagon and White House briefings and write articles about them. I've seen the president and first lady, the Prime Ministers of Italy and Ireland, and Donald Rumsfeld. It’s a truly amazing opportunity; I love the State Department.