Sample Internship Report on Peace and Conflict Studies

Internship Report

Introduction

I pursued peace and conflict studies due to my interest in promoting peace at the local community level. This was a great opportunity for me to serve the community for the twelve weeks of internship and 200 hours in City of Lowell at Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA). CBA is a membership based community development Non-Profit organization, dedicated to empowering the residents and community sustainability and revitalization process. It also deals with promoting healthy, vibrant neighborhoods by developing resident leaders, affordable housing and economic opportunities.

Summary of work done

Shortly before I departed for my internship period, CBA provided me with the internship working program that would guide me throughout the process (Perlin). This included the duties that I was supposed to embark on once at the organization. This served as my consistent point of reference throughout the research period. At the beginning of my internship, I had set several personal goals aimed at improving my understanding of the work environment, developing the essential interpersonal skills in the community engagements, civic engagement, and the basic structure of the NGO. I had a desk with a computer. The desk was big, so there was enough room to put my documents.

I was entrusted with carrying out various activities that eventually contributed towards increasing my knowledge and achieving my goals. First, I participated in the two monthly potluck activities. This is a CBA event that deals with food sharing and aims at encouraging and facilitating the communications between the Acre (Acre is a neighborhood in city of Lowell) and the residents for greater understanding and trust. The activity is also geared towards enabling the residents to share their ideas with the CBA staffs as well as relative government officials.

For the previous three years, the CBA organized per month pot luck meals to link and engage its members. These per month potlucks, were organized during the last Friday of each month, brought together citizens so that they can get to know each other, discuss and show their food preparation abilities, and learn about sources and problems they care about the most. During the event, Lowell Cops Superintendent Bill Taylor talked about criminal activity protection and public protection. Another presenter talked about eating healthily and food preparation and motivated citizens to form a strolling team to further enhance a healthier lifestyle. Monthly potlucks are a great way to discuss sources and engage with one another.

Next, I took part in Acre Cleanup & Annual Cook-Out, which is an annual cleaning and celebration events. We welcomed associates and citizens to fresh up the Acre group, which is where they live, and we prepared the lunchtime meals for them after the clean up. The Coalition for a Better Acre encourages citizens and volunteers to take pleasure in decorating their group. During this particular event, over 150 CBA citizens and group volunteers signed up with us for the yearly clean-up and picnic. We washed Whiting Road, the Welcome Spectrum area of the Northern Common Amphitheater, Franklin Judge, the tunnel pathway, King Road, and Decatur Street. The effort left all the areas fresh and wonderful, and the picnic was awesome, with kids getting referrals and everyone dance with the music

During this event, we promoted the trust and friendships among CBA members and residents, especially for those immigrants who were the new resident to this neighborhood as well as this country, formed a more harmonious environment for the neighborhood. Besides, I also helped to organize the Acre Festival & Resources Fairs, which is another neighborhood annual celebration event. As the co-organizer, CBA and its partners invited more than 40 local businesses and Mayor of Lowell attend resources fair, facilitate the close contact between local business and officials with residents, help to build community relationships and create a friendly environment for local business.

In addition, I was one of the originators who took part in the launch of the Let’s Get Fit 2015 campaign. The Let’s Get Fit 2015 is an exercise campaign to encourage CBA members do the physically exercise at least an hour per day. It is aimed at enhancing physical condition of members and residents. Lastly, I also helped organized the CBA Volunteer Appreciation Night, which is a dinner party held by CBA’s board and executive members to express their gratitude and appreciations to those CBA members who voluntarily worked and had made huge contributions to CBA’s community works in last year.

I was also tasked to help in the preparations for meetings that were organized by the organization and at times, I even served as the secretary to record the minutes. The role of a recording secretary is to attend the meeting, and prepare minutes of the discussions for distribution to representatives. This was an important work as recording staff are taken very seriously at conventions. The minutes provide an accurate record of the (often conflicting) views indicated, and are the strategy to keep in mind the important points of the execute program of the CBA. The process of preparing the minutes from the raised head table plus the chair in the organization’s boardroom was also a great possibility of me to engage in global conversations and selection in activity, and to obtain a further understanding of the peace building aspects. It was also a possibility to link up with some well-known professionals. Interns in the work environment are expected to work all the other staff members. I realized that it was essential for interns to effectively collaborate with the other staff members to link well and definitely search for and adhere to up work duties to maintain workflow (Ting-Toomey).

In the preparation process of these events, I did a lot of administrative works, such as using the basic Microsoft office packages like word processing, creating spreadsheets and power point presentations, poster designing and distribution, event organizing. All these activities required intensive cooperation and coordinating with others. I also kept the close contacts between executives, members and residents and tried my best to work between them.

Thoughtful comparisons with ideas/programs covered in readings

The first reading is from Yuval-Davis, Nira. “Belonging and the Politics of Belonging.” Patterns of Prejudice 40.3 (2006): 197-214. Print. The author concentrates on the significance of belongingness in areas. When it is said that individuals are part of a particular sex, or competition, or category or country, that they are supposed to be into a particular age-group, kinship team or a certain career, what is being discussed are public and financial places, which, at each traditional time, have particular, effects vis-d-vis the sources of power relations’ in community. A -man or a lady, dark or white-colored, working-class or middle-class, a participant of a Western or an Africa nation: these are not just different groups of public place, but groups that also have certain, positionality along an axis of power, greater or reduced than other such .categories-. Such positionalities, however, are generally different in different traditional situations and are often liquid and contested. CBA also works to promote the sense of belonging for the residents.

                       The second reading is from Folger, Joseph P., and Marshall Scott Poole. Working through Conflict: Strategies for Relationships, Groups, and Organizations. 3rd Ed. New York: Longman, 1997. Print. On the second half of page 167, Chapter 5, the book talks about the power distance, it says: “people in small power distance culture tend to be value equal power distributions, equal rights and relations, and equitable rewards and punishment based on performance (Folger, Joseph and Scott). People in large power distance cultures tend to accept unequal power punishment based on age, rank, status, titles, and seniority. For small power distance cultures, equality of personal rights represents an ideal to work towards in a system. For large power distance cultures, respects for power hierarchy in any system are a fundamental way of life.” The most CBA members and residents are immigrants from South East Asia, which consider as large power distance culture.

Cultures that have a low power range expect and agree to power interaction that is consultative or democratic. Individuals correspond with one another more as is equal to regardless of official roles. Those having substandard roles are willing to query and task those in excellent roles, whether it comes to choices creating or indicating a new concept. For example, in a reduced power range lifestyle, if one was to market at their job, they would be willing to deal with their manager and ask for one. In nations with great power range, the less highly effective agree to power interaction that are more autocratic and paternalistic. Employees recognize the power of others basically depending on where they are located in certain official, ordered roles. As a whole, greater power range nations believe that inequality is excellent, everyone has a particular position, people should rely on their innovator, and that the highly effective should not cover up their power and are eligible to many privileges. For example, even if one was to want marketing at their job, it would basically be out of the query to ask their manager for it. If the manager desired to provide their worker marketing, they would, and the worker has definitely no say in the issue.  The low Power Distance cultures are recognized by: decentralized power and creating choices liability, consultative or participative control design, smooth business components, small percentage of supervisory employees, deficiency of approval and asking of power, privileges awareness and a propensity toward egalitarianism

CBA connects those from large and small power distances. This is achieved through its promotion of healthy, brilliant areas by creating citizen management, cost-effective real estate and economical possibilities, and by giving answers to group needs through combined action. Since the 1980’s, the Coalition for a Better Acre has performed a crucial part in protecting and creating high quality, cost-effective real estate for low- and average income family members in the Acre neighborhood of Lowell. The Coalition for a Better Acre established the Home Maintenance Center (HPC) in 2007 to address the raise in property foreclosures in the Greater Lowell areas and beyond. Since its beginning, the HPC has yearly provided 200-300 family members experiencing problems paying their loans. CBA provides not only high-quality cost-effective real estate, but also helpful services to enable people be successful as they work to strengthen their lifestyles and achieve economical self-sufficiency, The Coalition for a Better Acre provides possibilities for small company proprietors and citizens to improve their economical conditions through technological assistance, economical knowledge sessions, and economical counseling.

Skills acquired and Lessons learnt

This internship has given me new understating, insight and motivations to pursue a career in peace and conflict studies, particularly at the community level. In addition, I think I can improve several areas of my skill set to prepare myself for future assignments and undertakings in this field. I need to work on my communication skills so that I can communicate with residents more confidently; and I can do much better if I would have more expertise on community psychology. I encountered the language translation complications. I believed that I could connect well in English and with my primary understanding of the language. However, I encountered challenges during some of my interactions with other people. Therefore, I was very challenged in interaction at the beginning but in the preceding weeks, it improved significantly. My internship therefore has improved my interaction abilities. I may have been perceived as a disorganized student. To play a more important role in the projects and to improve faster, I desire to create a more assured impact and to show my concepts and opinions in more certain manner (Sweitzer and King).

During the course of my internship period, I was privileged to work with other interns from North America, South Korea, China and the United States, all of whom served between three to six months at the organization. Other important results of the internship were enhanced information of my personal worldview towards peace and development and in-depth knowledge of the realistic function of the private sector in promoting development. I also learned how to plan for large meetings and liaising with government authorities from a wide range of States, working in linguistically and culturally different environments and participating in multilateral discussions and worldwide decision-making. I also improved my appreciation of the States’ legal administrative and financial systems while also enhancing my public speaking and discussion skills to an experienced level and enhanced my interpretation skills.

            Although I understood and created the necessary abilities and details while operating in the company, there are several factors that I could improve on next time. For instance, I did not have the exact outlook on what actions I could have taken to achieve my studying objectives. Therefore, during my internship I had some complications figuring out projects that I could bring out. Before my internship, I mentioned to the company officials on some other jobs I would take on. However, obvious contracts and opportunities were not created. A more assured mind-set from my side could have assisted. To avoid such scenarios in the future, I will pay more attention to creating obvious contracts and back-up programs.        

            The contribution in the organization during my internship created a sense of passion within me. Initially, I had some questions whether such programs being run by NGOs could result in productive outcomes because there are many stakeholders each with their own interests in the society. However, in this organization all members were really dedicated. It was exciting to listen to the concepts and conversations between the different stakeholders. The types of conferences held were of significance because they promoted knowledge among the different participants. They enabled the sharing of ideas and concepts that improved the livelihoods of the locals. It is also a way of creating and developing each other’s interests while working in a group set up as it encouraged us to put effort in all our activities. Through the internship, I discovered about home development and housing which I would want to explore further especially the control, security and control by plan and the way poverty affected the quality of housing (Samovar, Porter, and McDaniel). 

            The internship provided an opportunity to further engage in other people’s lifestyles and culture. I was moved and touched by the testimonies of those who had been helped by the CBA housing program to recover their lost houses. It also enabled me to perceive all the parties involved from a different viewpoint. Besides the use and application of terminology, I did not encounter complications due to different social background scenes. The internship was also an excellent way for me to see whether I could work outside the country, having interacted with colleagues from other countries. I hardly knew the issues and I got used to the different ways of life. In addition, the fieldwork became easier to me and I had the experienced of participating in various groups.

            Before my internship, I had some questions about my future profession. I was not sure if I would like to proceed in the line of peace building and conflict resolution after completing my studies. I also did not know what kind of specialization I would like to engage in. Through this internship, I have seen what components of my profession I like and I got passionate again to proceed in the specialization process.

            On the whole, this internship was a useful encounter. I have acquired new details, abilities and met many new individuals. I learned several objectives for my studies. I got involved in the expert exercise. I discovered the different factors operating within an NGO. I am now knowledgeable that funding, as in many organizations, is an essential aspect for the improvement of projects. Relevant to my research, I learned more about the chemistry and environment of stream whales and the risks they experience. There is still a lot to discover and to learn. The techniques used at this time are still not reliable and a proper and more reliable technique is still being developed. I have learned that natives can promote preservation, for example, through being empowered on their rights in the society. Furthermore, I am now knowledgeable on the significance of being very conscious of the perspective of other individuals for students majoring in peace and conflicts.  Peace building and promotion is not only about considering one of the sides, but it is a way of discussing details, concepts and views while accommodating divergent views in the society.

The internship was also excellent platform for discovering the pros and cons of my capabilities and skills. This assisted me in discovering which abilities I needed to enhance as I prepare for the job market. I discovered that during the initial stages, I need to enhance my vocabulary and peace building terminologies in order to portray myself as an expert in this field.  I also discovered that I could execute certain projects better if I practice and become well conversant with the analysis strategies used in research. It would also be better if I can express and portray myself more with confidence whenever I speak before people. Lastly, this internship has given me new ideas and inspiration to engage, in a professional way, in matters pertaining to peace and development. In conclusion, the internship was a beneficial experience for me because I have found out my strengths, weaknesses and I learned new skills and knowledge and met new people. Therefore, I believe I achieved most of my learning goals.

 

Works Cited

Folger, P. & Marshall S. (1997). Working through Conflict: Strategies for Relationships, Groups, and Organizations (3rd Ed.). New York: Longman. Print.

Perlin, R. (2012). Intern Nation: How to Earn. Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy. London: Verso. Print.

Samovar, L., Richard, P. & Edwin R. (2009). Communication between Cultures. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Print.

Sweitzer, H F& Mary A. (2009). The Successful Internship: Personal, Professional, and Civic Development. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. Print.

Ting, S. (1999). Communicating Across Cultures. New York: Guilford Press. Print.

Yuval, N. (2006). “Belonging and the Politics of Belonging.” Patterns of Prejudice 40(3): 197-214. Print