Starting at USIP

United States Institute of Peace


After months of anticipation, I’ve started my summer with the U.S. Institute of Peace. USIP is an independent, non-partisan organization created by Congress to prevent and peacefully resolve conflict through research, training and  assistance. I’ll be working in the Rule of Law Center . I’ve really been looking forward to working at USIP – during my two years in law school I’ve frequently used their resources for research on topics including constitution building and transitional justice mechanisms.

I’ve only been here a couple of days, so I don’t have too much to share as yet, but it’s been a great few days - here are a few reasons why:

  • The work – two hours into my first day here I was given a research project that came out of my supervisor Vivienne O’Connor’s recent trip to Libya (Click here for more on USIP’s work in Libya). I’ll be going into what I am doing in more detail in my next post, but for now I’ll just say I’m really, really excited (and articulate apparently).
  • The people – everyone has been incredibly helpful and friendly, despite being very obviously busy. Even more than that, the work environment manages to be challenging and supportive at the same time. If your ideas lack clarity or need more work, no one will pretend they don’t. But they’ll also talk through your work, point you towards helpful resources and reassure you that this is all part of the work process.
  • Finally, I can’t not mention the building (see the picture above or click here to see more pictures and learn a bit about the building).  It’s probably the number one thing people mention when I tell them where I’m working. I’ve heard it called everything from “striking” and “beautiful,” to “weird.” I don’t know anything about architecture, so I can’t comment on it intelligently, but I can say it’s a very pleasant place to work. It has by far more natural light than any other office I’ve worked in. The lobby is so bright the security guards sometimes wear sunglasses at their desk.