My internship at the International Republican Institute

By Nicholas DeHaas
(M.A. Global Policy/International Security & US Foreign Policy ‘12)

This summer I interned for 11 weeks in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Division at the International Republican Institute (IRI) in Washington, D.C. IRI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization supporting democracy in more that 75 countries by “developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, good governance and the rule of law”.

My work in the LAC division (IRI’s oldest) focused on a number of different countries, and programs within those countries, as well as several grant proposals for programs which had yet to be approved or implemented. During my internship IRI had programs in eleven LAC countries with 27 full-time employees and two interns in Washington, D.C. My focus was split between the region containing Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and the region containing Cuba, each headed by a single Program Officer (PO). The PO from the Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador region was responsible for my largest project, the organization of the Regional Municipal Governance Summit in Bogota, Colombia. The purpose of the summit was to bring together mayors from Latin America and municipal government experts from around the world to share best practices and lessons learned from their experiences throughout Latin America.

My experience at IRI taught me a lot, and I look forward to putting those lessons into practice when I again find myself inside the beltway, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later (I am currently applying for a year-long fellowship at IRI).