A great percentage of the applications that InteRDom receives each semester are from students interested in international relations and diplomacy. In an increasingly globalized world, international cooperative bodies, corporations and research institutions are gaining momentum and importance as major players in both the development and politics of many nations.
While InteRDom works with a number of public, private and NGO-sector organizations that can provide students with internship opportunities in this area, when Fall 2011 internIndhira Sepulveda’s application was received by the InteRDom Admissions staff, the perfect placement for her was clear.
“Indhira’s interest in understanding Dominican foreign relations policies made her the perfect candidate for the Dominican Council on International Relations (CDRI),” said InteRDom Admissions Coordinator Mandy Sciacchitano. “The research focus of this institution allows her to explore not only the policies of the Dominican Republic, but to compare them with those of other nations around the world to put them into context.”
The Dominican Council on International Relations (CDRI, as it is known in Spanish) is a research center that forms part of InteRDom’s parent institution Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE/GFDD), which brings together a diverse group of observers, scholars and international relations specialists to analyze and understand events and practices of relevance to the international community and how they affect the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean region.
Through various programs, courses, conferences, seminars and workshops, the CDRI disseminates and promotes the study of international relations amongst youth in the Dominican Republic.
Sepulveda’s role in the institution is as a program assistant, conducting research on foreign policy and security and defense in Central America and the Caribbean.
“I usually go to the office 4 times a week and do research to write my essays,” she said. “My first report is about CARICOM and its history. I’m focusing on CARICOM’s political policy, its member states, its diplomatic relations and regional and extra-regional organisms.”
While the research that Sepulveda is conducting in her internship is very important, often it is the additional, out-of-office activities that are the most enriching to a student’s experience to expand his/her knowledge of other aspects of the country’s development. These events often provide chances to encounter the topics and major Dominican and international actors in a different setting.
Sepulveda has already had the opportunity to participate in a number of these activities, providing depth and breadth to the knowledge acquired in the internship.
“I went to the conference held by President Leonel Fernandez… about the book he just published, El Delito de la Opinion Publica,” she said. “This event was held in Centro Cultural Mauricio Báez.”
The CDRI’s location within the framework and office of FUNGLODE offer an extra benefit to interns like Indhira, as the offices are just across the street from the student residences, making it easy to get to and from work and to attend other pertinent conferences, seminars and activities in FUNGLODE.
“I have attended a few conferences and participated in activities outside my work,” Sepulveda said. “First, I went to the Environmental Film Festival, held at FUNGLODE. The week after that I worked … in a conference about inter-American relations, the tile of which was “Discussion on Inter-American Relations: A Vision for the Future.” I helped [coordinate logistics] the day of the conference and I also took notes to write a review about what was discussed in the conference to give to the press department of the Foundation.”
As Sepulveda learns more about the foreign and social policies of her home country, she becomes more and more confident in her own abilities and the impact that she can make on the world, which is the ultimate goal of any internship experience.
“The work that I’ve done and the work that I’ve seen here has changed my perspective towards the Dominican Republic,” she said. “I feel like I can become someone important, someone big, maybe an ambassador or a diplomat. I just want to keep learning and I know that that knowledge will take me far.”
The internship program, InteRDom, an initiative of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and FUNGLODE is the premier internship, research and academic study program in the Dominican Republic. It offers international students the opportunity to research important topics at the forefront of the United Nations agenda, obtain professional experience by interning with Dominican organizations and businesses related to their fields of study and/or earn academic credits by taking courses and seminars at a local university.