Summer Institute Offers Students Experience in International Development

Posted: June 17, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron

Last week, students enrolled in the Summer Institute on International Development heard a young survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide share his personal experiences and reflect on the difficult tasks involved in moving toward reconciliation after the traumatic event. The talk by Vital Akimana, a student at Guilford College, was part of orientation at the Arlington Campus for the students, who have now scattered to sites around the Washington, D.C., area to spend the summer in internships related to international development services.

Institute speaker
Vital Akimana, a student at

Guilford College, talked about his

personal experiences as a

survivor of the 1994 Rwandan


Offered through the Center for Global Education (CGE), the program also included a site visit to the World Bank as part of the orientation. During the remainder of the institute, students—both graduate and undergraduate—spend four days a week at their internship sites and one day a week in a seminar with a faculty member. And next month, students have the option to spend a week in Costa Rica and experience firsthand the opportunities and challenges of international development. Students will visit development projects and agencies and meet with professionals in the field. The trip will focus on integrating theory and practice with the themes of sustainable development, eco-tourism, peace education, trade, and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

The summer institute is particularly timely, says Program Officer Mark Flanigan, as the CAFTA debates are heating up in Washington, debt cancellation for highly indebted poor countries has been announced by world leaders, and the G8 summit, dealing with global poverty and debt relief, is coming up next month.

Although this is the second year the summer institute has been offered, Flanigan says this year CGE is “expanding the focus and involvement and trying to raise the profile” of the program. “The ultimate goal is to link theory with practice and have students see how the real world operates.”

Students at summer institute
Students listened to speakers as part of their orientation to the summer institute.

The faculty seminar leader for this summer’s program is Marcel Kitissou, originally from Togo and former executive director of the Africa Faith and Justice Network in Washington, D.C. He is the founder of the Peace Education and Conflict Ethos (PEACE) Institute at the State University of New York at Oswego, and he was a visiting fellow with the Peace Studies program and the Institute for African Development at Cornell University.

Among the organizations where students have internships this summer are InterAction, Search for Common Ground, Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, Institute for Policy Studies, and the American Bar Association, Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative.

The institute, which provides 6-9 credits for undergraduates and 6-7 credits for graduates, continues through Aug. 6. For more information, see the web site.

A similar program, called Global Humanitarian Action, will be offered beginning Aug. 28, and another one begins Jan. 23, 2006. The deadline to apply for the fall program is July 4, or Oct. 1 for the spring program.

The program format will be the same, with internships in Washington, D.C., four days a week and seminars and site visits to agencies and nongovernmental organizations on the fifth day. An optional trip to Geneva, Switzerland, for briefings at major humanitarian organizations, is also available. Credit—up to 15 for undergraduates and 9 for graduates—is available through the Department of Public and International Affairs and New Century College. See the web site for more information or call 703-993-2106.

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