For more than 30 years, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), a major tax-exempt, nonprofit, and nonpartisan national research and information organization, has offered internships in Washington in the fields of U.S., Latin American, and Canadian relations. These internships provide practical, entry level experience regarding a variety of political, economic, diplomatic, and trade issues. They also provide young scholars with excellent exposure to the policy making process. COHA seeks highly qualified undergraduate and graduate students as well as those who have already earned degrees. During its existence, nearly 1,000 successful candidates have interned in COHA’s Washington office.
COHA internships, which are available throughout the year, are entirely voluntary and are highly competitive (with summer positions being the most sought after). Schedules for the 18-week internships (14 weeks for the summer internships) can be arranged to meet the individual’s needs, although full-time and full-term applicants are given preference in the selection process. Interns play an integral role in COHA’s activities, which include the following: issuing statements and providing commentary to the print and electronic media; submitting articles on hemispheric issues to regional and national media; monitoring human rights and press freedom violations; promoting constructive U.S. policy initiatives; formulating viable alternatives that seek a diplomatic rather than a military solution to disputes; attending briefings by visiting Latin American dignitaries; and surveying legislation focused on social justice and the expansion of authentic democratic institutions.
Intern candidates should have some knowledge and/or interest in U.S.-Latin American affairs or international relations and should display impressive research and writing skills. Proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese is desired, though experience in journalism, English, or one of the social sciences may be substituted for the normal background requirements. Ideal internship candidates should be highly motivated and will be expected to show initiative and a capacity for innovation.
COHA’s downtown Washington office is located in the prestigious Dupont Circle area, a fast-paced and highly professional yet congenial area. Former interns have had their by-lined work published in various COHA publications as well as in the Congressional Record and the opinion pages of newspapers across the world including the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Times, and many others (see our online cite page for examples). COHA internships are highly respected by the Washington policy-making community for their rigor and valuable learning experience. Former COHA interns have gained prominent positions in journalism, the Foreign Service, and congressional offices as well as admittance to some of the most prestigious professional schools in the country.
Please send a completed internship application form, along with a resume, cover letter and a brief writing sample (two pages), to COHA. Also arrange for an official transcript (photocopies are acceptable) and two letters of recommendations to be mailed. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but positions tend to be filled quickly; it is advised that you apply several months prior to your desired starting date. Applications may be addressed to our Intern Coordinator and sent via:
Council on Hemispheric Affairs
1250 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 1C
Washington, D.C. 20036
Fax: (202) 223-4979
Positions and Responsibilities
COHA will accept multiple research associates during each semester, and we will also accept one student for each other position. All interns will research and write articles, but while this will be the primary function of research associates, the highest priority of other interns will be tending to their specific duties.
Research Associate – As a research associate, interns will be writing articles for COHA’s highly regarded publication, the Washington Report on the Hemisphere (WRH); composing Opinion-Editorials and letters to the editor for publication in major national and international news media; performing personal interviews with Washington officials; attending Congressional hearings, legislative seminars, and various events on topics relevant to COHA’s work; and assisting in office administration tasks such as maintaining subscription lists. Applicants with high computer literacy are encouraged to apply.
Financial Officer – The financial officer will develop, coordinate, and evaluate the financial program and supporting information systems of COHA. His duties will include budgeting, bookkeeping, tax planning, banking, and managing financial office operations.
Office/Intern Coordinator – The Office/Intern coordinator will have the general duty to manage the day-to-day affairs of the COHA office, and will be integral to the continual recruitment of new interns for the following semester. He or she will plan and manage recruitment and selection of staff, conduct new employee orientation, manage staff meetings, track articles in progress, and give COHA’s director a daily briefing on the status of these tasks.
Outreach Officer – The outreach officer will be charged with maintaining COHA’s communications and mutual understanding between the organization and its public. He or she will also be charged with seeking business development opportunities in the form of grants and other funding. This includes the use of all forms of media and communications to project and protect the appropriate image, attending to exhibitions and conferences, managing mailing and subscription lists, and locate new potential sources for organizational funding.
Copy Editor/Producer – The copy editor will prepare, proofread and copy edit to improve readability, as well as supervising others who do this work. Read, copy, or proof to detect and correct errors in spelling, punctuation, and syntax. He or she will also maintain the organization’s style, editorial policy, and publishing requirements. As such, he or she will be required to verify facts, dates, and statistics, using standard reference sources. As a producer, this intern will be the main point of contact for COHA’s off-site writers, and work with the office/intern coordinator to track progress on articles in progress.
IT Officer/Webmaster – Duties for the IT officer/webmaster include basic maintenance of computers, printers, fax machine, and Internet. He or she will also manage our website and send emails to COHA’s mailing list. Experience with programs we use (WordPress for the website, Atomic Mail Sender for mailings, or similar programs), familiarity with Windows, and knowledge of basic HTML code are preferred.