Are you interested in gaining real experience while learning the ropes of working in a fast-paced D.C. think tank? ABPA Institute has a partnership with the Middle East Institute (MEI) to place students into internships.
Founded in 1946, the Middle East Institute is a non-partisan think tank that studies the Middle East. Its team of experts provides policy analysis, educational and professional development services, and a hub for engaging with the region’s arts and culture.
Its founders, scholar George Camp Keiser and former US Secretary of State Christian Herter, created a mandate: “to increase knowledge of the Middle East among the citizens of the United States and to promote a better understanding between the people of these two areas.” MEI regularly hosts leading experts, officials, and media, highlighting authentic voices from the region, at its conferences and weekly programs in Washington.
MEI interns are presented with exciting opportunities to do real work and complete substantive assignments with personal guidance and hands-on training from their supervisors. Previous interns focused on women’s achievement in the Arab world and edited scholarly articles, analyzed politics and international relations in the Middle East.
MEI offers a diverse range of internships across its research programs and departments. Types of internships include: Arts and Culture, Center for Education, Communications & Multimedia, Development and Fundraising, Programs and Events, Publications, Research Assistantships, Digital Publications, Finance, and Oman Library.
All internships at the Middle East Institute are unpaid, though the Leadership Development Internship Program is full of benefits such as free language courses, opportunities to discover career paths with experts, workshops to build skills, access to events at MEI and other organizations in the DC area, a one-year subscription to The Middle East Journal, and access to a network of MEI intern alumni.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and each department may have their own specific dates. For more details, see the MEI internships FAQs. Remote internships are currently not available and all interns must be in Washington, DC for the duration of the internship.
Yasmine Mattoussi at MEI
Yasmine Mattoussi is a Publications Intern at MEI and a recent graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs. Her interests are in Middle East politics, foreign policy, and international journalism.
We asked Yasmine some questions about her internship experience at MEI.
How did you find out about MEI? Did what you studied in school or your life experiences help you feel confident to apply?
I had heard about MEI for several reasons having studied international affairs in college, but I attended events there for a previous internship and I really liked the speakers they brought there. I had participated in various journalism and Middle East-focused internships before, so I thought they would make me qualified to apply.
What is an average day like as an intern?
Interns in the publications department are asked to write small news reports on assigned countries in the Middle East, help the editors of the Middle East Journal copyedit manuscripts, and write book reviews. Interns also attend various workshops on potential career paths and presentations from experts and scholars at least once a week.
Is there anything you find interesting about MEI that maybe an outsider or someone who isn’t familiar should know? Or maybe an interesting experience you’ve had where you gained insight or awareness about the industry?
Prior to my internship, I did not know that MEI had a museum in its building. There are cycling exhibits and auctions featuring many known and unknown artists from the Middle East/North Africa region.
Do you have any advice you could give if someone were to get a job at MEI or a similar organization?
MEI is an oasis of scholarship and expertise on the Middle East. Being a think tank, it revolves heavily around research and study. It is definitely an academic environment. It also offers plenty of great resources both to the public and the people working there, and those resources should be taken advantage of. I took free Arabic classes at MEI during my internship, for example.
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