Keya Advani '08 Interned at Global Justice Center in New York City
Summer Internship Funded by Joseph F. Anderson Internship Fund
By Laura Trubiano '07
September 11, 2006
Keya Advani '08 spent her summer interning with The Global Justice Center (GJC) in New York City, a unique non-governmental organization dedicated to enforcing the affirmative rights of women to political representation. Advani was one of 13 Hamilton students who received college funding to conduct a summer internship. While pursuing internships is an increasingly popular move for students, the realities pose certain problems. Most of the available positions are unpaid, requiring students to fund their own housing and living expenses as well as working for free, all in pursuit of the elusive resume-booster "work experience."
Thanks to generous grants from parents and alumni, Hamilton students can apply for funding to support them while they work in a field of interest with an organization that cannot pay them. Though Advani worked in what is known as an "unpaid internship," she received money from Hamilton's Joseph F. Anderson Internship Fund, given in honor of a 1944 Hamilton graduate who served the college for 18 years as vice president for communications and development. The fund in his name provides individual stipends to support full-time internships for students wishing to expand their educational horizons in preparation for potential careers after graduation.
The Global Justice Center was founded in 2005 by Janet Benshoof, a renowned women's rights lawyer was also the founder for the Center for Reproductive Rights. "As an intern working with an organization that is in its initial phase of growth, I have been incredibly lucky in learning what it takes to build an NGO from the ground up from an expert who is founding her second nonprofit organization," wrote Advani in a mid-summer progress report.
Advani worked in several different areas of the organization, gaining experience with many various activities. She helped to establish a database and a filing system and worked on website production and design. Advani also worked on fundraising-oriented tasks, such as researching and compiling an information sheet on women victims of rape and torture under Saddam Hussein's regime. "It was an additional honor to know that this information sheet I had compiled would assist in taking the voices of the silenced women victims of Iraq, to foundations and funders such as the Bill Gates Foundation, Oprah Winfrey, Evelyn Lauder, etc.," wrote Advani.
Advani also worked on writing materials for an Introduction to Feminism course that one of the GJC's legal interns was teaching to Burmese refugees at the Thai-Burmese border. She coordinated with this intern to write and produce materials on feminism that could be easily and accessibly taught to refugees who speak only minimal English.
"My knowledge in respect to international human rights, the functionality of international law, and the current state of gender parity in government and judicial systems has increased immeasurably during the past one month. Although I had never previously planned on going to law school, working with international human rights lawyers has inspired me to consider law as a viable next-step in my academic career. In terms of my longer term career goals, working at the GJC has completely reaffirmed my commitment to working with international human rights," wrote Advani.
-- by Laura Trubiano '07