I feel privileged to have been able to work in Washington D.C. on international relations issues during this particular period in history. Years from now, I'll look back and say not only was I alive during the momentous revolutions of the Arab Spring, but I was in the nation's capital, following significant events as they happened, and writing about them on behalf of a national organization. Opportunities like that are rare, and looking back, I'm very glad I chose to intern fulltime for GlobalSolutions.org rather than part-time in a Congressperson's office.
Witnessing Congressional hearings was a new and interesting experience for me. I quickly learned that nothing really gets done in hearings, and all the real work is done behind the scenes. But the hearings were worthwhile nonetheless. I heard Hillary Clinton testify about the importance of international relations funding and another high-level state department official testify about Libya while U.S. planes were bombing Moammar Gaddafi's troops. Those two events as well as a plethora of others made the work I was doing tangible and that much more exciting.
I learned a lot during my time at CGS. I learned about the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the Responsibility to Protect, and many more concepts vital to global politics. I also learned about the logistics and challenges of outreach for a nonprofit advocacy organization. I felt that working in the nonprofit advocacy world can be difficult, partly because victories on key issues cannot realistically be directly attributed to the organization.
For example, if Congress ends up passing a genocide prevention bill, something CGS works tirelessly for year after year, the efforts of passionate, hard-working CGS staff probably won't be acknowledged as a major factor in the bill becoming law. We don't have the money or influence to have a tangible impact on the decisions of our government. And what I grappled with and eventually came to terms with is: It's ok. We don't need to be rewarded or acknowledged as the ones who got the job done. Our part may be small compared to all of the sources influencing decision makers, but it's still important. The work CGS does is crucial. I honestly believe that the world is a little bit of a better place because of CGS. And we can take pride and celebrate when what we want to happen happens.
CGS is a great organization, and working here has been a fantastic experience for me to have before college. I'm now able to enter freshman year with the kind of experience and knowledge that I believe is rare among people my age. And I will use the experience of the past semester to my advantage going forward. Thanks to everyone at CGS for allowing me to work with you and learn from you.