In the news today, it is impossible to miss the headlines surrounding the Middle East. It’s an extraordinarily complex and diverse region of the world, with constant and growing attention towards Israel-Palestine, leading one to often wonder if there is a way to both learn more and make a meaningful impact. Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) offers this opportunity through internships, which allow interns to engage critically and make a lasting contribution towards peace in the region. Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., near Capitol Hill, CMEP is a coalition of 27 national Church denominations and organizations working to encourage U.S. policies that actively promote just, lasting and comprehensive resolutions to conflicts in the Middle East.
CMEP helps church organizations, leaders and individuals nationwide advocate in a knowledgeable, timely, holistic, and effective way to express their concerns about justice and peace for all peoples in the Middle East. Interns are an essential part of CMEP’s vision and mission. Interns have the opportunity to engage in many areas including: Church engagement, government affairs, development, communications, non-profit administration, and research. Interns are not confined to any one area, as CMEP offers opportunities to engage critically with each dimension of the work. Interns are encouraged to work on major projects, such as event coordinating, research, and writing articles with the freedom to propose and lead their own tasks. Throughout this, interns are also given the opportunity to gain exposure and network with a broad range of organizations and groups through summits, conferences and events, in which they attend and represent CMEP. Interns are also given the opportunity to participate in government engagement activities, including attending congressional briefings and meetings with U.S. administration, the State Department, National Security Council, and other government and NGO offices. They also receive honorable mention for their work through CMEP.
To get a better idea of what CMEP internships offer, here are a few past intern experiences below:
Nick Do, an intern from the fall 2017 intern class, came to CMEP with a background in working with broad religious coalitions. Seeking an internship for his master’s degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, CMEP offered him the opportunity to work with faith communities in service of peace.
“I was impressed with how Christians in the region — communities, individuals, as well as entire denominations — have worked hard to have an outsized voice in the conversation around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are particularly well-placed and effective at undermining the reductive narratives that often seem to take over in this context. I particularly enjoyed the work related to this fall’s advocacy summit, Choose Hope. The experience of corresponding with congressional offices, setting up meetings, preparing talking points, and accompanying participants on their visits with representatives was very rewarding.”
CMEP has equipped Nick with invaluable experience and skills that will benefit his work in the future: “Applying for grants, doing research and communications are all very useful. Furthermore, my experience working on a small team will definitely help me adjust to such work environments in the future”.
Andrew Wickersham, an intern from the fall 2017 class said: “Of the internships that I’ve held, CMEP offers interns the greatest number of opportunities to make meaningful contributions. As an intern with CMEP, you will actually assist with projects that staff would normally be doing; they aren’t just inventing new projects to keep you busy. For those interested in learning more about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, interning with CMEP offers the chance to meet with politicians and human rights leaders… It is a lot more in-depth a learning experience than I had previously experienced in school. The soft-skills interns acquire, especially in communications and office operations, are bound to be helpful in any future career.”
Jessica Hill, an intern during the spring 2017 class found CMEP through an interest in working for peace in the Holy Land and regional experiences.
“Throughout my internship with CMEP, [I was] exposed to experiences, perspectives and narratives that broadened my knowledge and commitment to peace in the region. I grew most from working on a project called Lights4Gaza, which made a lasting contribution to those suffering from the infrastructure crisis in Gaza. Focusing on research for CMEP, I also learned how to not only become a better writer but also how to interview and communicate with NGOs and individuals in the region. CMEP provided me with the opportunity to make a difference and a lasting impact. One of the most valuable interfaith learning experiences was seeing how to bring together such diverse perspectives within a multitude of faiths/denominations, and finding common ground on issues that are typically very polarized.”
Shirin Bouzari, an intern during the spring 2017 class, worked on event coordinating and building new relationships with ambassadors, “I do believe, deep down, that this internship was meant to be, and that working towards a greater cause like seeking peace and justice for those in need is not limited to any religion. It is the work we do as individuals and as groups, regardless of our faith, that matters the most. CMEP gave me the opportunity to start my journey in a place that is welcoming and supportive, a place that allowed me to grow as an individual and to be a better [person]”.
Most of our interns work from our Washington, D.C. office, but some internships are also available in Atlanta, Seattle, New York, and remotely. Interns must be willing to support CMEP’s current policy positions. To learn more about CMEP internships visit http://cmep.org/internships/ and apply today!
Story by Jessica Hill, a volunteer and former intern at Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). CMEP is very thankful for the writers who contribute Spiritual Resources. However, CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the positions of our writers, and they do not speak on CMEP’s behalf.