My Experience as a CARC Intern – Valeria Minisini

As my time as a CARC intern comes to an end, I though I would use this post to talk about my experience over the past few months and offer some tips for the incoming interns who will join at the beginning of the 2019/2020 academic year at the University of Kent. These past few months interning at the Conflict Analysis Research Centre have been nothing short of memorable. As a MA International Relations with International Law student, I am fascinated by conflict studies, human rights and regional politics and viewed the opportunity to work alongside prominent academics in this field as the chance to build on knowledge already acquired through seminars and lectures and develop a better understanding of what future career paths are available once I finish my degree in September 2019. I had actually applied to be a CARC intern a couple years ago when I was an undergraduate student at the University of Kent but did not make it past the initial application phase – this motivated me to undertake internships in areas that CARC worked in to discover if a career in research/academia or conflict analysis was right for me. It’s fair to say that I am now considering pursuing PhD studies in the near future as a potential pathway to work in academia/research and I credit learning from the various lecturers/professors I interacted with at CARC as one of the primary sources of inspirations for this.

My role as a CARC intern was essentially two-fold: on one hand I offered logistical/marketing support with regards to the organisation and running of the centre’s various events and on the other hand I worked on the development of the centre’s blog, which includes a wide range of articles from published student essays to guest interviews and more. One of my first major tasks as an intern was to assist with the running of the centre’s flagship event, the annual John Burton lecture held in November 2018, which this year, featured Professor Marie-Joelle Zahar who delivered an interesting lecture on mediation. Myself and the centre’s second intern, Elsa, marketed the event on social media and live streamed the lecture for those who could not attend. The event was successful and I was inspired by Professor Zahar’s background especially working in Syria and Lebanon. Especially as a soon-to-be graduate, learning about ways to enter the exciting and also complex world of mediation was helpful. Following the lecture, a research workshop was held where several University of Kent politics lecturers and Professor Zahar presented snapshots on research projects they are currently pursuing. All were very interesting and covered a range of topics that I have engaged with through readings and modules.

Other events that I have assisted with included a conversation series with Dr. Phil Clark from SOAS, University of London who spoke about the impact of the International Criminal Court on African politics. As someone who grew up in Africa and an international law student, I was particularly fascinated by what Dr. Clark spoke about. I was also honoured to be able to interview him for the CARC blog prior to the lecture and find out more about his work and interest in the work of the ICC.

All in all, the events that I have assisted with have been nothing short of eye-opening. I have been able to network with well-known academics and expand my knowledge on key political debates, certainly relevant to my degree! Presently, I am not sure what life after university will look like but I am pursuing opportunities with non-governmental organizations and charities working in the areas of peace building, human rights, conflict analysis and justice.

I certainly recommend all incoming, eligible students to apply for an internship within CARC. I would say this has been the ideal compliment to my studies and it is also a great opportunity to engage with your own areas of interest. Everyone within the centre understands that we have countless essays to write/exams to study for so I do not think this internship hindered my studies in any way – actually it enhanced it. Furthermore, this opportunity is within the School of Politics and International Relations so there is no need to commute to London for work. There will certainly be busier days than others as a CARC intern especially if there is a major event occurring soon but it is nothing that will deter you from your studies. If you’re passionate about human rights, conflict/security studies then do apply when the opportunity arises.

I’d like to thank all the people who have made my time as a CARC intern memorable. Because of you, I do feel like I have a clearer picture of careers I would like to pursue and have learned a great deal over the past few months.