Graduate Student of Human Rights at Sciences Po, Paris
Having obtained a BA in Political Science from the University of Minnesota and begun a master’s program in Human Rights from Sciences Po in Paris, I realized it was about time I began doing something more challenging than volunteering and tutoring. Regrettably, the holidays I have spent in Serbia have rarely been well-thought-out, and I often ended up feeling I could have done more with my time. This year, however, I was introduced to Horizons and its editorial crew working at CIRSD. I was thrilled by the idea behind the journal and immediately felt enthused about being accepted for the internship.
Having been away from home for quite a long time, as well as having been influenced by a Western lifestyle and education, I started to perceive how different the environment I originally came from was. For this reason I am most grateful to the people at CIRSD for helping me break from some preconceived notions. Open-minded, yet with well-thought out opinions and a great knowledge of many different topics, the CIRSD staff make for a perfect example of how tolerance and respect for opposing views and values should be nurtured in a challenging working environment. This further left a great impact with regards to my plans to work in my own country one day.
When it comes to the topics we discussed at CIRSD, I should note that the Center is open to everyone with an interest in any subfield of international relations. The multiplicity of topics range from examining historical resemblances between today’s world order and the one of 1914, all the way to questions of sustainable development and the situation in the Middle East. During my internship, I helped put together the fifth issue of Horizons. Since the topic of the issue centered on the future role of the U.S. in the world, I felt I came to CIRSD at just the right time. Having lived in the U.S. for three years, I thought I had extensive knowledge and solid views on the country’s internal and foreign affairs to share with my colleagues. However, after meeting the very experienced people at CIRSD I was able to learn even more and hear a variety of different arguments. This opportunity to learn was truly enriching, and it helped advance my views on the role the U.S. should play in the world.
Apart from being introduced to writing, editing, and reviewing, I often provided administrative support, including word processing and data entry. I enjoyed every task I was given. This is in part because I felt appreciated by people at the Center for every little thing I did. Even though I found it slightly funny, it did not take long for me to recognize that the encouragement and support was exactly what I needed on my first real step into a professional world. Finally, the experience at CIRSD strengthened my desire to work for a think tank and, more importantly, showed me how crucial it is to work in a healthy and positive environment. Now that I am gone, I wish the experience had lasted a while longer. I remain hopeful, however, that once I start working I will find my place in an organization like CIRSD.