Internships At Cultural Survival

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Now celebrating it's 28th year, the internship program at Cultural Survival (CS) is an integral part of the organization's success. As Pia Maybury-Lewis, co-founder and Intern Coordinator states, "Interns are an invaluable resource to our operations". Throughout the year, interns gain a better understanding of indigenous peoples and exposure to the human rights issues that affect them. Interns get hands-on experience, assisting with letter writing, research, and website development, as well as contributing to and editing segments of the Quarterly, and coordinating Bazaars and special events. Interns are not only exposed to the day-to-day reality of non-profit work, they are included in the process of bringing indigenous issues before a much wider audience including media and policy elites, organized constituency groups and the U.S. public. Exposure to indigenous issues heightens interns' awareness of how much goes unreported in the news. The highlight of the week is a regularly scheduled luncheon that features a guest speaker, geography lessons, or a film related to a current topic.

Interns represent a diverse mix of backgrounds and cultures from across the U.S. and overseas, resulting in a very lively, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Because internships are unpaid, many interns volunteer on a part-time basis while also holding a job. In the future, CS hopes to be able to offer small stipends, particularly to minorities and Indigenous people, who otherwise might not have the opportunity to profit from such an experience.

Volunteers dedicate anywhere from 10 to 30 hours a week and lend their knowledge to the organization for differing lengths of time. Some are here for as little as four weeks and others stay for several months, all with the understanding that their work helps CS be a strong, innovative organization. Neely Laurenzo, a recent intern, reflects on her internship by saying, "My contribution to your organization cannot begin to repay the wonderful contribution this experience has made to my life! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here as it is in direct relation to the work I hope to pursue throughout my life - helping people."

Up to the present, approximately 1,000 interns have aided CS in voicing the concerns of indigenous peoples throughout the world.

Article copyright Cultural Survival, Inc.

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