It was spring break 2019, full of excitement and adventure… and internship hunting. Two months away from starting my summer break and I still had no idea where I was going to land. Finally, after a couple of applications and interviews, it was set, I was going to Israel. Wait, Israel? Really? Yes, really.
The tomb of the prophet Samuel. The middle east is filled with unimaginable amounts of history. This was the first active archeological site I visited while in Israel. It was incredible to see years of history layered upon each other. (left)
Prior to the securing an internship with a human rights NGO in Jerusalem, I did not know much of Israel outside of the region’s biblical context and a generic recognition of a place in regular turmoil. I eagerly sought advice from professors, experts, and friends. Book and article recommendations started piling up so high, I was not sure where to start. By the time I handled logistics and administrative things at home, I was on a plane to Tel Aviv with no idea what my summer was going to look like.
My impromptu 3-day tour into Jordan was amazing. Seeing Petra, one of the seven ancient wonders of the world, was fascinating. Although the tombs, to include the “Treasury” pictured here, were beautiful, I found the innovative engineering even more amazing. The ancient Nabateans were able to build an intricate water system that captured and held enough water from the one or two annual rains to last them the remainder of the year. They had enough water for agriculture, bathing and drinking, as well as socializing at community pools. (right)
The two and a half months abroad had me on a roller coaster – mentally, emotionally, and physically. Working for a human rights organization in a conflict zone caused me to question my pre-conceived notions, analyze motives, and seek understanding as to the impact of actions regardless of intentions. My summer research allowed me to see the connection between human rights and security, and the validity of this connection regardless of geography. Policies taken in the middle east regarding things like humanitarian aid and human trafficking have reverberating effects within the region and around the globe.
In addition to interning in Israel, I also had the extremely amazing opportunity to attend the Duke Global Policy Program in Geneva, Switzerland. During this week long intensive course on Humanitarian Aid, Refugees, and Human Rights, we got to pick the brains of government officials, leading practitioners, and experienced administrators. The wealth of knowledge was beyond what I imagined. The resolve that the humanitarians have to remain dedicated to their pledge is truly honorable.
The 9/11 Living Memorial located in Jerusalem, Israel.
In the national security realm, there inevitably remains the need to identify targets – someone is the good guy and someone the bad. But in the humanitarian aid sphere, it is far more complicated – the enemy doesn’t always have a name, people on either side of conflict may need help, and there is no security blanket to fall back on. The perspective I gained in Geneva allowed me to approach the research and work in Israel with a broader scope that although larger, was clearer.
My summer was eventful – I saw the world in a new way, got to experience four new countries and cultures, and met amazing people. My joyful journey to Jerusalem would not have happened without the generosity and dedication of the Carlucci family and Duke staff. I am forever grateful for this experience, my personal growth, and the ability to bring a fresh perspective back to my workplace after graduation.
The tomb of the prophet Samuel. The middle east is filled with unimaginable amounts of history. This was the first active archeological site I visited while in Israel. It was incredible to see years of history layered upon each other.