Week 10: To Share Some Final Thoughts

I feel lucky to have worked with such interesting, generous, intelligent, and dynamic individuals this summer at USIP. The way I saw my colleagues be researchers, strategists, knowledge experts, team members, and facilitators week-to-week is something I want to emulate in my legal career.

It has also been interesting to see how USIP, being a governmental organization, operates within the bounds of U.S. interests, as opposed to civil society organizations that do this work without “answering to” or representing a broader power. Not that this is harmful or negative, I simply mean that having or gathering USG support is necessary before certain initiatives can be undertaken. In some ways, watching this dynamic broadened my conception of what “U.S. interests” are. How potential genocidal violence in a “far-off” country can ultimately be understood as a threat to U.S. national security. How the U.S. acts to hold itself accountable for the values it purports to stand for, like democracy, equality, and respect for the territorial sovereignty of a state. Maybe this is an oversimplification or just plain common knowledge, but I wanted to note how I saw it shape my colleagues’ work since I think it’s unique to doing this kind of work in the government.

I learned so much from my summer in DC working at United States Institute of Peace. It served as a deeper introduction into post-conflict peacebuilding, rule of law, and atrocity prevention work. (It also showed me how squishy these terms can be.) The work is so interdisciplinary and multi-faceted. I was constantly astounded to take in the great diversity of field, work, and educational experiences of my colleagues. There is so much I am taking away as my law school and career journey continues!