My name is Hamzah Khan and I am a junior in the School of Diplomacy majoring in International Relations and minoring in History, Arabic, and Economics. I interned at the Council on American Islamic Relations-NJ Chapter, the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the country as a legal research intern. In my role, I supported the organization’s civil rights department with case intakes and researched laws and government policies in New Jersey that impact the Muslim community. I also worked with the Communications department in researching and writing op-eds, advocating for policies that impact the Muslim community such as free speech laws, Islamophobia in local governments, and religious rights for incarcerated Muslims.
One project I am proud of is our anti-Islamophobia campaign in Edison, New Jersey. Earlier this summer, the Indian Business Association held a parade in Edison for India’s Independence Day but excluded most Indian minority groups like Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs. They also ran an offensive Islamophobic float of a bulldozer which Hindu Nationalist governments in India use to demolish the homes and businesses of Muslims. They also invited a renowned hatemonger from India’s BJP to be the grand marshal of the parade. The local community in Edison was shocked by this event and CAIR spearheaded a multi-organization condemnation and pressure campaign on the local mayors to apologize for attending the event and promise further screening of parades before issuing permits. We also put enough pressure on the Indian Business Association that they publicly apologized for the offensive imagery at the parade and agreed to work with local officials to prevent this from happening in the future.
I also worked on multiple op-eds criticizing the state of New Jersey’s policy of defunding investments in companies that exercise a boycott of Israel on humanitarian grounds. These op-eds criticized this policy’s coercive nature, which stifles the free speech rights of individuals and corporations who want to exercise a peaceful boycott of a country to advocate for human rights. These op-eds were published in renowned New Jersey and national outlets like NorthJersey.com under USA Today, and the Palestinian magazine, Mondoweiss. The opportunity to get published was big for me because I am interested in journalism as well and passionate about issues such as these.
These are two instances where international issues correlated directly with our work as a civil rights organization because we advocate for human rights not only in NJ but internationally as well including India and Israel. I had the opportunity to do research into international human rights as they relate to those two countries and learn more about the geopolitics of the Middle East and South Asia. This internship has allowed me to combine things I have learned in classes like Comparative Foreign Policy and Public International Law to get on hand experience in the field of civil rights advocacy both domestically and abroad. I also got to enhance my research skills which I gained from classes like Investigating IR and DiploLab. I am interested in pursuing a career in law or journalism in the future and this internship helped me to combine both disciplines while also gaining valuable insights by working with experienced lawyers and journalists.
From the age of 16, as I reflected on how I wanted to serve others and the greater world, I knew that I wanted to work within human rights and hunger. My current internship for the U.S. State Department at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations has allowed me to explore this passion within developing nations. Daily, I assist diplomats with planning various events and notetaking during meetings, both of which help strengthen my writing and analytical skills. Previous events I have attended have covered topics such as food waste, taxation, sustainable development, and poverty. Recently, I was able to work with a U.S. ambassador on an upcoming human rights project, which has allowed me to work closely with more senior officials. It has been wonderful to expand my knowledge in different areas, such as hearing about climate change from different delegates during events and negotiations. This includes working with documents that are used within the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), learning the office language and acronyms, enhancing writing skills concisely through brief event summaries, and utilizing networking skills within my department. As this internship is virtual, working from home can be challenging, but it has been very rewarding knowing that we are appreciated for all the assistance that we provide. My biggest achievement thus far has been assisting an ambassador with research and a speech presentation on a subject area that I am passionate about.
What I really value from my internship is that I am given the opportunity to meet with ambassadors, diplomats, and other senior officials weekly to inquire and receive advice about their careers. Maintaining professionalism is crucial during this internship as we are constantly communicating with other U.S. State Department officials and UN employees of all fields and levels. For example, I had the opportunity to meet with U.S. Ambassador to the UN this week. Hearing her story and passion motivated me as a Black woman to join this field in the quest of breaking barriers and pursuing my dreams. My diplomacy coursework has equipped me with the background knowledge needed to understand the conversations taking place and has assisted me in transferring the skills I have learned in the classroom to the workplace.
Every day, I remember that I am 20 years old, an undergraduate student, and one of the youngest interns in my department. I am extremely grateful to be doing what I do and attribute this success to the School of Diplomacy and the assistance of Dr. Ruby. As a female student of color, I enjoy seeing representation within the State Department, and it assures me that I belong here. The people that I work with are extremely kind and willing to share advice with us about their professional careers, proving how effective networking will continue to be in any positions that you obtain.
I highly recommend this internship to anyone that is interested in the work of the State Department and the United Nations, as it has been the best of both worlds for me. I have learned so much during the time that I have spent there and am extremely eager to see all that is to come!
-Akaysha Palmer ’22
My name is Keshav Agiwal, and I am a junior at Seton Hall University, double majoring in Diplomacy and International Relations and Philosophy with a minor in Communications. I am currently interning with the Gore Law Office as a client engagement intern. This internship has allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of the court system and the field of family law. While I work with clients and assist them in understanding court procedures, I also research how the law might apply to specific situations.
The skills and concepts I learned in courses like Cross-Cultural Negotiations and Public International Law have prepared me to complete my internship tasks effectively. Cross-Cultural Negotiations focused on simulations that encouraged students to communicate in ways that addressed the needs of all parties involved. In the course, we examined the norms of communication in different ethnic groups and how these differences could impact the effectiveness of communication between states. My internship has provided me with the opportunity to speak with a number of clients from diverse backgrounds and use this foundational knowledge to develop a closer connection with them – in turn allowing me to effectively help them achieve their goals.
Along with communication skills, I believe that strong writing is important in the field of diplomacy and law. Through my Public International Law course, I learned to analyze cases and write concise briefs that furthered my understanding of the law. Similarly, one of the most important skills I practice with Gore Law Office is the ability to write clearly and concisely by including only the most important facts of the case in briefs and memos.
The pandemic has forced many things to be done virtually. Although I am working from home, my supervisor has been working hard to give me the most of this experience. He hosts workshops and training sessions on different topics where I learn about interesting concepts and rules in family law, and skills I will need to succeed in law school. This experience has solidified my decision to pursue a career in the field of law. Though the workload and deadlines can prove to be a challenge, the results, and joy that some clients express at the end of the process keep me motivated to work harder and continue to help others.
I would recommend students interested in law to intern with a law office or attorney because it will give them insights into some of the daily tasks of lawyers. I am fortunate that my supervisor, an attorney, has been very transparent with me. He has taught me several important skills I hope to use as I grow professionally. I hope to keep strong connections with everyone I met at this law office, and I am certain that I will most definitely use the skills I gained through this internship in the future.
My name is Harshana Ghoorhoo, and I am a junior majoring in Diplomacy and International Relations, Modern Languages, and Philosophy. I am currently a research intern at the Modern War Institute (MWI) at West Point Academy. MWI is a national resource within the Department of Military Instruction that provides a unique platform to conduct studies on recent and ongoing conflicts to help military leaders navigate today’s complex world. MWI’s projects include activities such as scholarship, multi-disciplinary battlefield assessments, symposia, among others.
Given my interest in studying military strategy, urban warfare, and military classical thought, the internship has been key in fostering the necessary skills and knowledge that will prepare me for a career in military studies. So far, I have assisted with the publication of MWI-affiliated scholarship through research, formatting, editing, and fact-checking, which has given me a better understanding of the process behind producing publishable reports and articles. Currently, I am working directly under the director of research and the chair of the urban war studies department. I am involved with two major projects researching U.S. military history and military strategy of former U.S. presidents during the Revolutionary War. Additionally, I am writing a series of urban battle reports for MWI’s Department of Urban War Studies.
The support I have received from my supervisors is incredible. They have been very friendly, responsive, and have encouraged me to take up projects that capture my interest. Working with them makes me enjoy completing my internship hours and pushes me to continue contributing to the research projects currently underway at MWI. Even though my internship is remote this semester, I am fortunate to be working in an environment that remains highly productive despite the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. My weekly calls with my supervisor always start with a small recap of our respective week, sharing ideas, talking about interesting news, academic updates, and so on. He has been more than a supervisor; he has been a valuable mentor.
Working at MWI has given me important insight into how think tanks and research institutes function and how to succeed in the sphere of research and academia. My involvement with Seton Hall’s student organizations has been instrumental because they have provided me with vital skills that I am actively using in my current role as a research intern. My role as an editor for the Diplomatic Envoy has proved consequential since I write urban battle reports and occasionally copy-edit articles submitted to the MWI. As a research assistant at the DiploLab, I have learned essential skills in conducting research that I regularly translate to my work at MWI.
My internship rarely feels like I carry a workload. On more than one occasion, I have opted to write a battle report or start a new project in my spare time because of the excitement and passion I have for the work. Of course, having supportive supervisors has been key in enabling these sentiments. I would highly recommend MWI to anyone looking for an internship that strengthens your writing skills, expands your academic horizons, and pushes you to become a more effective researcher.
My name is Lawson Barkley, and I am a senior at Seton Hall University majoring in Diplomacy and International Relations with minors in Economics and Russian. I am currently interning with a District Court Judge in North Carolina as a research intern, and my time so far has been invaluable. I previously spent time with the judge and have come to admire his character and work ethic. His ability to foster a safe and friendly work environment, while at the same time challenging me with assignments, makes this internship very enjoyable.
As is the case with internships amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, I work remotely and spend my free time and weekends on internship assignments. This internship is incredibly flexible; therefore, I can balance my homework and internship assignments throughout the week. When it comes to my work with the District Court, my experience as a Diplomacy student aided me in the completion of all tasks. Particularly, courses like Public International Law (PIL) have prepared me for this role. Like the work I do at my internship, PIL assignments consist of reading case law and preparing case briefs that interpreted laws. This was one of the primary tasks I had to complete for my supervisor. Working on case briefs became difficult when dealing with laws that were new and had no concrete precedent from which we could derive rulings. However, once I had a strong understanding of these laws, I could sift through cases and determine where they were used, and how they were used. This is important work since judges have the power to use discretion when interpreting laws on cases.
One of the best skills I gained during my internship is the ability to effectively write case briefs. When I first started the internship, I would spend quite a bit of time on one case; however, I quickly learned that I should not read through every little detail. Now, I am better at finding where the main points of cases are, and whether to continue reading it word by word. This skill will not only help me effectively deal with case law but can be transferred to any readings that I do for my other courses.
I strongly recommend interning with a judge or lawyer for anyone interested in the field of legal studies. As a result of the pandemic, naturally, the internship was a unique experience. Internships during Covid-19 are more research-focused. In the past, I toured the courthouse and saw the inner workings of a District Court. Not only did I experience the legal field from the perspective of a judge, but I also experienced it from the perspective of a lawyer. I networked with many lawyers who have guided me concerning my place within the legal field. Overall, this internship prepared me for my future law school journey. The ability to research cases and write briefs is critical for students looking to pursue a JD. Although I did this internship remotely, I hope to connect with my supervisors and mentors in the future once the lockdown restrictions have eased.
My name is Sade Nixon. I am an undergraduate senior from Chicago, Illinois completing my degrees in Diplomacy and Modern Languages. I am currently studying Russian and French, both of which I make extensive use of since starting my internship with the United States Mission to the United Nations (USUN). I am currently interning with the Political Office of USUN, which handles US Foreign policy as it pertains to Security Council activities.
The interconnectivity of my field is hitting me full force and idea-mapping to trace ripple effects and possible overlap has been beneficial. Courses such as Institutions of Global Governance and international law courses have already proven their practicality on day one. I am grateful to be confronted with things outside my comfort zone; the necessary question-asking has given me opportunities to build rapports with my senior colleagues, who have been supportive in exposing me to topics I have a specific academic interest in.
Like most things I have done to the end of pursuing my goals, working at the US Mission constantly reaffirms my career aspirations. This has always been something I have wanted to take on; now I get to have my expectations exceeded. I now have my own projects to handle and have recently completed work on negotiations of several UN Mandate renewals and Resolution revisions. Other than that, my work is mainly research on geopolitical affairs and handling initiatives for Foreign Service Officers. These tasks have certainly sped up my processing time and forced me to work on balancing thoroughness with timeliness. It has also made my professional writing more uniform and streamlined.
My tasks are mainly informative and administrative (attending meetings, drafting documents for Washington, and research, mostly), and I answer to the Foreign Service Political Officers and to the Deputies. My co-workers at my level are graduate students in international affairs programs, and my superiors are Foreign Service Officers and Political Advisors. The FSO I am partnered with directly specializes in African affairs. I am full-time, so I am working from 9am to 6pm Monday through Friday. The environment is naturally quite energetic by virtue of our scope, especially as we have now entered the 4th quarter of the year, and the FSOs are incredibly supportive in making sure the interns are working on our areas of interest. Though the DOS internships are virtual this year, the speed with which the office has adapted to working mostly online and the level of availability they maintain even when we cannot always see one another in person has been truly impressive. Challenges are mainly related to timelines and the volume of work, but I love being kept busy and the pressure has made me accustomed to managing an extremely demanding schedule and delegating to others if need be.
Over the course of my internship, my professional goals have become clear: next semester, my aim is to prepare for the Foreign Service Exam and explore my options for Graduate Schooling to obtain my master’s degree. This is due to my work experience, but also thanks to the vested interest our Officers have taken in my goals for my career.
My name is Vanessa Vuji. I am currently a senior at Seton Hall University studying International Relations & Diplomacy and Modern Languages. I am working as an intern reporter for La Voce di New York, an Italian-English UN based journal. My internship has been an incredibly transformative experience – one that has shaped my academic and professional endeavors. Interning for the United Nations has always been a goal of mine, and with this internship, I am not only directly engaging with UN professionals, but I am also shaping my career path by taking on work that aligns with my interests. Being exposed to the world of political journalism has exposed me to an entirely different professional career path that I may consider in the future.
My interests in conflict resolution and international politics, coupled with my passion for journalism, prompted me to pursue an internship experience that combined all my academic interests. With the Journal, I am primarily tasked with attending press briefings and Security Council meetings. The notes that I take at these meetings allow me to write my articles, which I usually write in Italian, although I am also tasked with writing in English. These articles center on important issues taking place around the world, whether it be climate change, immigration, public health, domestic politics, or international conflict.
This internship gives me the ability to inform people on global events – events that often do not get enough coverage. For instance, one topic that I was able to research focused on the rejection of Syrian refugees from Greece. I am able to learn about international politics as well as the inner workings of the United Nations.
The research and writing that I conduct at my internship host site are skills that I learned through my coursework at Seton Hall. The skills that I learned from writing research papers and essays are directly transferable to my internship. These skills have been greatly improved since I began my internship as I am constantly researching, writing, and translating.
My Italian language skills have also greatly improved. When the internship started, I found it difficult to write articles in Italian. However, with the help of my supervisor, I strengthened my grammatical skills, particularly, my verb conjugations and translations.
The lessons I learned through this internship are numerous. Students interested in global affairs and political journalism will certainly benefit from interning with La Voce di New York. This internship is a great way to improve your writing, research, and language skills, and provides the opportunity to advocate on important issues taking place across the world.
My name is Eugenia Audrey Utoyo and I am a senior undergraduate student studying Diplomacy and International Relations. I recently completed an internship with the Voice of America (VoA) in their office in New York City.
The Voice of America is a governmentally funded multimedia agency that broadcasts news topics from all across the globe. They provide a comprehensive coverage of the news ranging from international affairs and U.S elections to pop culture and entertainment. Although Voice of America is primarily a U.S News agency, they also represent several major countries like Turkey, China, and Russia.
At VoA I worked as a Media Intern. My main responsibilities included cooperating with VoA’s Indonesia branch and coordinating tasks with my supervisor who was a renowned TV and film producer. One of the most exciting tasks I got to work on as an intern was the production of a new show titled Border Crossings. This show, hosted by one of my coworkers, broadcasts the latest in American music entertainment to audiences in Indonesia. A number of accomplished artists including, Jon Bon Jovi, O’Town, and Paul McDonald have appeared on the show. This aspect of the internship was particularly valuable because it was relevant to some of the lessons learned in my Diplomacy courses about transnational communication and globalization.
During one of the show’s segments, I was given the opportunity to learn how to host the show and work the camera equipment. Being a guest host requires that one consider the timing and delivery of their lines whilst being conscious of their facial expressions and movements on-camera. It was an experience that took me out of my comfort zone. Although I was incredibly nervous about being on camera, I recognized that this was an opportunity that would enhance my own professional development.
Being at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy provided me with the necessary skills to excel in this position. My background in international relations made me accustomed to the ever-changing nature of the television production studio. At the School of Diplomacy, we learn to constantly inform ourselves on international news developments whether it be climate change, international conflict, or refugee crises. Working at a multimedia news agency is much the same. The time I have spent at Voice of America has been impactful for my own professional development, as well as my growth as a student. The skills that I have learned with Voice of America will certainly help me as I enter the job market and prepare for the next opportunity.