It’s so crazy that I’ve already finished up half of my internship at the New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council and am nearing the beginning of my senior year at Tulane. As mentioned in previous blog posts, I have 5 different learning objectives for my internship this summer: to increase knowledge of citizen diplomacy, gain transferable skills, increase understanding of the U.S. and local communities’ role in diplomacy, enhance personal and professional growth, and network. I definitely feel like I am progressing and working towards accomplishing all of my goals. Through creating programs and meeting with international visitors, I have been able to see firsthand the impact of local community efforts to improve diplomatic relations through shared knowledge. I have also really enjoyed working in a smaller office of only three full-time staff members (all women!) because I have been able to create connections and relationships that I can potentially draw on in the future. For instance, two of my bosses have volunteered for the Peace Corps so I have been able to talk to them about their experience and realize that volunteering abroad is something I would love to pursue post graduation.
As far as projects go, there is always something new to work on at the NOCDC. A project that I am proud of is having worked on a proposal and then compiling resources for the project for Cape Verde on the topic of violence against women and children. The delegation just recently finished up their visit to New Orleans and I was able to sit in on a meeting between them and a representative of the New Orleans Police Department. It was interesting to hear about how the Cape Verde criminal justice system varies from that of the U.S. as well as learn information about how the NOPD responds to domestic violence calls that I had previously not been aware of. Generally, it was amazing to see a projects I had worked on since beginning my time at the NOCDC finally come to fruition.
An interesting aspect of meeting with foreign delegations is that they tend to include roughly equal numbers of men and women. Being able to see women from countries like Cape Verde and the DRC in positions of leadership has truly been inspiring. In addition to the international visitors, as previously mentioned, all of the full-time staff members in my office are women. Seeing women run and operate programs as amazing and impactful as those facilitated at the NOCDC has been a great opportunity. I will definitely leave my internship with an increased awareness of the potential that exists in strong female leadership. Even though my internship at the NOCDC is coming to a close soon, I am most excited for what is to come. Next week we are having delegations visit from Syria to learn about recovering from trauma and Israel/Palestine to learn about education and social mobility. As a Middle Eastern Studies major, being able to meet with these types of individuals is something that I dream about and getting to have these opportunities during an internship locally based in New Orleans is really a dream come true.