Jul 27, 2009

Internship Reflection Time: What I am taking away and what I am leaving behind -- Sandeep Gautam

What is the relationship between NGOs and military actions? Why does Africa continue to suffer with increasing hunger, poverty and chaos despite billions of dollars of aid from developed countries? Is the US foreign policy working in Pakistan and Afghanistan? How can financing be used to fuel economic growth?

These are some of the many questions that I tried to untangle during my internship at Asia America Initiative. Often internships are what you make out of it. For me, it was a truly learning experience, to say the least. One thing that I am really taking away from my internship is the knack of getting right into the core of a problem while still looking at the bigger picture. I read a lot, indiscriminately from all sources, just to make sure that I didn’t miss anything. Lively conversations with Mr. Santoli and fellow interns often brought together any missing pieces. This became a process through which ideas were developed and recorded in the blog.

This brings me to a question of what I am leaving behind. Well, I am not exactly leaving but I will write it any way. I was mainly involved in promoting views and ideas, particularly through blogging and I want this to continue in the future. This should go on because this is important. AAI is partly a think tank in itself even though we go a bit beyond just advocating policies – we implement our ideas and live through the changes. Future interns should understand that not everything you write will get responses, not all views will be celebrated. But we should continue to write what we think and why we think so.

That everything we do here at our office in Washington helps impoverished families in underprivileged and at risk South Asian and South East Asian communities was very inspiring throughout. For someone who has seen and lived through ordeals of war-ridden communities in Nepal, to get a chance to help heal the wounds of war victims was a real treat.

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