Letter to Prospective Interns

To Aspiring COHA Interns,

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs’ internship program is held in high esteem in the field of inter-American affairs, and we are humbled by the responsibility usually given us in having to process many more qualified applications than we can accommodate.

Our interns are exposed to a variety of experiences that we hope will assist them in their career development. Many of our interns have gone on to solid graduate or professional schools, joined the Foreign Service and other U.S. government agencies, become journalists or entered other challenging careers in the public and private sectors.

COHA interns serve as research associates and are involved with all aspects of COHA’s work. Along with relatively few administrative duties, interns are expected to: write for the organization’s highly regarded biweekly publication, the Washington Report on the Hemisphere; draft press memoranda as often as two or three times per week; conduct research on a variety of economic, political and social issues; initiate telephone queries with congressional and administrative personnel; publish articles under their own by-lines in major newspapers and newsweeklies; attend a variety of Washington conferences and briefings as a representative of COHA; conduct interviews with policy-makers; and prepare research for insertion into the Congressional Record and Library of Congress under their own names.

COHA internships are entirely voluntary and interns are expected to make their own living arrangements, although we may be able to provide some useful tips if they do not have any other Washington contacts. Interns are expected to work from nine to five daily, although the office is open long after 5 p.m. and on weekends as well. COHA internships last 18 weeks (14 weeks in the summer.) In rare instances, shorter periods of service can be arranged depending upon the requirements of individual institution’s Washington internship programs, or if an applicant faces unique circumstances requiring a small modification of our usual program.

In the past, some of the more committed interns have put in long hours in collaborating closely with COHA’s director, Larry Birns, to produce research memoranda and articles for publication in the Congressional Record as well as the major media. Exceptional interns who have excelled in the COHA environment at times are offered a stipend to continue working with the organization on a short-term basis upon the expiration of their original contract.

For your internship application to be processed, please make certain that we receive the following items as soon as possible: a cover letter, a completed application, an official transcript (photocopies acceptable), a resume, a writing sample and two letters of recommendation. Of utmost importance is the portion of the application detailing to us what you hope to obtain from a COHA internship and your familiarity with the hemisphere. The writing sample is important because we want to be certain you are an effective researcher and author, since possessing these skills is essential to succeeding in our organization. And remember, if we accept you, and you us, you will be honor-bound to fulfill the terms, dates and conditions of your internship. To give you some sense of the internship situation here at COHA, we normally receive hundreds of applications for internships throughout the year, but can accept only 15 to 20 internship candidates per term. Although acceptances are made on a rolling basis, most will be made in March for summer interns. Thank you for your interest in working at COHA, and we look forward to receiving your application.

Sincerely,

Internship Coordinator