This post from the Intern Desk comes from Ella Brown, a Public Affairs Intern based in Washington DC. Being an intern at WFP is more than just fetching the coffee... Read on, and find out more...
Last August, I started a Master’s program in International Affairs at The George Washington University in my nation’s capital. It still feels surreal that on my walk to class I pass by the World Bank and the IMF and I am only a stone’s throw from the U.S. Department of State and the White House. In my internship at the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), I love being a fly on the wall for many of the historic conversations taking place in DC that are changing the way the U.S. thinks about foreign aid and responds to global hunger.
Hands-on learning sparks my curiosity. The only comparison I can think of to explain how thrilling it is to learn international relations in a living classroom is the way speaking Spanish finally “clicked” for me during my college semester abroad in Granada, Spain.
Let me give you an example of how my studies and my internship work hand in glove: Last semester I wrote a term paper comparing U.S. and international emergency food assistance through case studies on the 2005 Hurricane Katrina and the Horn of Africa drought since 2007. Just this week, I took notes at a meeting with the two women who led the largest emergency food assistance operations to the very natural disasters I researched last fall.
Ertharin Cousin, former VP of America’s Second Harvest (now called Feeding America) led the largest U.S. hunger organization in response to Hurricane Katrina, delivering 62 million pounds of food and live-saving services to the Gulf region.
Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of WFP—the world’s largest hunger organization—is leading the world’s largest hunger organization in response to the Horn of Africa drought, the Haiti earthquake and the Niger drought.
Jotting down notes on remarks by Sheeran and Cousin, I was in awe of experiencing yet another scenario during my internship with WFP to give new meaning to “learning in context”.
Sheeran and Cousin prove that policy is nothing to yawn about. These dynamic and engaging leaders breathe life, common sense experience and direction into policies like the new Obama Administration’s Feed the Future Initiative to advance global food security.
My schoolwork is not, as some suggest, lost in an academic bubble, floating detached from practical application. Because of my internship with WFP, it’s like my research interests can grow legs and come to life.
Public Affairs Intern
Ella Brown was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She loves salsa dancing, the great outdoors, and fighting hunger.
For more on life as an intern at WFP - watch the video...