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8th February 2012

Internship Testimony – Federica Riccadonna

“How does it feel to be a remote intern of the G-I?”

When I read this question, the first answer that came to my mind was … I feel..myself important. Yes, even if I am not on-site, I am feeling fully involved in my role and work. I also have to be sincere, when I read about the possibility to make “only” the remote internship, I was sceptical. But, as you can see, I used the quotation marks for the word “only”. In fact, already from my first day as remote intern, I have seen that the commitment, importance and quality of the work that G-I asked from me is relevant. The great possibility to organize myself and my tasks weekly without inflexible office hours is invaluable. During my first month I learned so many things, I could say “interesting” things, but this word is narrow compared with what I have put in my store of knowledge.

First of all, with my most important assignment, I could see and understand how different organizations, institutions, centers of research work on peace and human rights issues. And this gives me the opportunity to explore a worldwide scenery, which is usually not well known despite its importance, furthermore,  this assignment gives me contacts and ideas for future jobs or steps for my personal career as I hope to become a Peace Worker. I am getting in touch with a world committed to peace building, to constructing a culture of peace, to transforming conflicts which is stimulating and also creative for my personal and professional life. This assignment also allows me to test myself and to test the application of my capacities and my knowledge, not only academic but also personal, as it pertains to the reality of where I live.

One example is the approach for analyzing a conflict, my academic education put in close-up a state-centered approach, while now I have seen the necessity to have a more detailed picture of a situation, which includes other stakeholders, cultures, values, past history and future scenerios. During this month I examined the TRANSCEND-Method, some of Galtung’s papers, and for the next two months I would like to deepen this approach.

The task that I most wish for is to become familiar and competent with the TRANSCEND method, which is unique, original and current. It permits one to analyze conflict and make proposals, in a strategic way, suggesting not merely win-win outcomes, but transcending the conflict, with solutions that include creativity, empathy & nonviolence. I hope to increase in my person all these virtues, in order to enhance my approach, but this will be possible only with experiences in the field and in my daily life.

Until now, this internship has represented a challenge for my skills in a fundamental way as transforming conflicts is undervalued in academic training as well as the analysis of conflict. I understood the importance of a good conflict assessment thanks to the availability, suggestions and help of people in charge of tutoring my internship. In fact, they assign me some specific tasks but they are also open to any questions I may have, or to any issue that I want to deepen. I never thought to have the possibility to explore, study and examine so many different papers, pieces of writings, links suggested by them. This increases my knowledge in a concrete manner.

I was worried about reliability by both sides; by G-I because I know the huge amount of work that they have to do and maybe they would have no time for following and assisting me carefully, and by me, because if I was not engaged with interesting tasks, I was worried to lose my will of working. Both worries are unfounded. G-I staff was so kind and helpful, and my assignments stimulating. After this month I feel encouraged, motivated, ever-growing.

My expectations for next two months are to carry on with this growing path, deepening my knowledge about G-I, and being useful in preparing the databases assigned, and doing all my best for each task that G-I will assign to me in the future. I would like to be accompanied and to receive suggestions, as made in a very detailed and careful manner until now, especially in increasing my capabilities in analyzing a conflict or a political situation, with the inclusion of certain warnings, for example cultures, minorities, future scenerios, and not only present, state-centered perspectives as I used to do.

Even if I have some specific tasks to fulfill, this remote internship gives me the possibility to pursue my personal interests and feelings. In fact, I spoke about my personal interest for Nepal, and my desire to make a research about mountainous communities’ approach to conflict with Nepal as one case-study. The people in charge of my internship encourage me to go there and I am sure that, as carried out until now, they will work with me on preparing a heuristic approach for experimenting my next step, which will be explorin the field.

All things considered, I am positively impressed by this experience, and I want to recommend it to everyone that seeks improvement of personal and professional skills in this field.

Even if, I have to add this, the experience in the field and on the ground is unique. My opinion is that after this kind of internship, an experience in the field is of primary importance, in order to prove and test the competencies and capacities acquired. So, as agreed at the beginning of the internship, the most relevant advantage is also the disadvantage: Not being on-site permits to cut down expenses and to organize time of work as preferred, but not being on-site does not permit to stay in a concrete context.  Despite the possibility to follow the courses offered on-site that solved this problem by taking a middle course. This is my most desired expectation after the end of my internship: make an experience in the field, and I am doing all my best to analyze the Nepalese situation, in order to find good partners for my research, and leave with a competent stock of knowledge about Nepal but also about the methodology for transcending conflicts. In conclusion my expectations for the next two months are increasing skills of analysis and contacts with partners and at the same time being of assitance and careful in preparing the databases and fulfilling any tasks assigned.


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