In this conversation, Tinaishe Maramba, a Keough School master of global affairs student in the International Peace Studies concentration, reflects on his summer experience as an Ansari Institute intern with Religions for Peace.
The internship allows students to work for the widely respected and influential organization, which draws on faith to provide an inclusive and interreligious response to the world’s challenges. Maramba found the experience helpful as he works toward a career in peacebuilding.
Q: What led you to apply for this internship?
A: I learned about the internship from my classmate Elizabeth Boyle, who participated in the program last summer. I was attracted to the idea of working with Religions for Peace, an organization that facilitates multifaith collaborations for peace around the world. I also saw this as a great opportunity to gain experience working for an international organization, which is what I hope to do after I complete my program.
Q: What did you find most rewarding about this experience?
A: The opportunity to work alongside international headquarters secretariat staff for a leading international organization was really rewarding. My supervisors were all very experienced people who are leaders in their fields of expertise, and who were very supportive. I found it to be a great mentorship opportunity.
I was also exposed to high-level administrative work, and all the details on how an international organization is run. In addition, I had the opportunity to meet various religious leaders from all over the world through meetings and webinars, learning from their input and understanding the work they do through multifaith initiatives that promote peace around the world.
Q: What did your work involve?
A: I worked as an intern for the secretary general’s office. My job was to assist the senior assistant to the secretary general with day-to-day administrative tasks. A typical day might involve attending a webinar where the secretary general was speaking, and writing minutes or transcribing minutes from a Zoom meeting she attended. I also assisted with the work members of the secretary general’s office did in preparation for conferences and meetings. This includes preparing briefing notes, background briefings for attendees, as well as monitoring the work plan for the secretariat to ensure that events did not clash in the secretary general’s diary.
I also assisted with managing the database for Religions for Peace’s partners and experts, who are always on call to assist with webinars, training and conferences. These people are religious leaders from all over the world. Religions for Peace has had over 50 years of harvesting such religious expertise, and it is one of the organization’s greatest strengths. My special project this past summer was to coordinate the redesigning of the Roster of Experts database, and to improve the mechanism by which we added more people to the roster.
As a peacebuilder, I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the role religions play in peace efforts around the world.
Q: How did this internship fit into your experience as a master of global affairs student?
A: The internship was an opportunity to gain professional experience, which is one of the key goals of the Master of Global Affairs program. It was an opportunity to be exposed to some of the real-world issues we study in class. I am excited to bring back this wealth of experience into the classroom to share with my classmates. As a peacebuilder, I also appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the role religions play in peace efforts around the world. Religions for Peace is special in the sense that it works to provide a platform for religions to collaborate for these efforts.
One of the key highlights from my time as an intern was the success of the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative in Brazil. Different faith groups have been collaborating to support the indigenous communities in their work to protect the rainforests. Because of this initiative religious leaders are now one step closer to creating a permanent Interreligious Council in Brazil. Such councils around the world are Religions for Peace’s most powerful tool.
My experience witnessing such developments will be very instrumental in the Master of Global Affairs program which is also a multi-disciplinary program. It will also be beneficial in my various classes on religious peacebuilding. I wish everyone could have this great experience!