On Our Own Island

Stockholm has been called "the Venice of the North" because it is comprised of so many islands. Although about 1 in 5 Swedes owns a boat, they are not used a the major means of transportation like in Venice. Instead, there are plenty of bridges. International IDEA is in a restored building with a long history, situated between the island of Gamla Stan and the island where the City is. It is all alone on a small island accessible from a small bridge branching off the main one.


This week has been a rather hectic one for the Constitution Building Processes (CBP) team. About half the team headed off to Hong Kong on Wednesday to run a training pilot program. Then, as is the custom during summertime in Sweden, a lot of people at IDEA are going on leave for big chunks of June and July. I guess that's why they have so much use for interns during the summer.

In all, there will be about 10 interns at IDEA this summer. So far, there are 6 or 7 already here. The interns come from all over the world, from Chile to Italy. It's great to have a little community of interns to work with, and even better that the staff also interacts with the interns socially. I really like the community atmosphere. It's impressive because the staff is even more diverse than the intern pool. In CBP alone, we have team members from the U.S., Malaysia, the Philippines, Kenya, Cameroon, and Germany. The operational language here is English, but you can almost always hear someone speaking something else, be it Swedish, French, or Portuguese. 

There are two interns in CBP. The other intern is from Princeton. Most of our tasks are assigned to both of us, then we divide up the work. Right now, we are working on reading and uploading documents to the virtual library on constitutionnet.org, compiling additional resources for the constitution building handbook currently in production, and developing a chart mapping constitution building processes in Africa for use during the South-South dialog in October. It's interesting substantive work that keeps us pretty busy and makes the days go by quickly. When we were getting our tour of the building and introductions to the staff, some mentioned that they were jealous of the interns because interns do so much substantive research.