Posted by on June 07, 2013 in Blog

AAI's 2013 Summer Interns

AAI’s summer internship program is in full swing and we are excited to introduce these fifteen individuals to you, selected from a remarkably competitive field for their impressive history, experience, and motivation. This summer’s interns are a diverse group of Arab Americans, international students, and individuals who have ties to the community. Many have lived or worked abroad for substantial periods of time, and are highly successful in their studies, often speak multiple languages, and demonstrate hard work and enthusiasm in all aspects of their lives.

Interns represent AAI and are placed at a variety of organizations in Washington, DC, New York, and abroad, ranging from advocacy groups and political parties to members of Congress and government agencies. We are looking forward to working with our Summer 2013 interns and to featuring their writing in the coming months, so look out for guest posts from each of the people below.

Nicole Abi-EsberNicole Abi-Esber

Nicole Abi-Esber is currently pursuing a master's degree at Harvard University in Middle East Studies with a focus on International Economics. She graduated from Tufts University in 2012 with a degree in International Relations and Psychology. Nicole has previously worked for a non-profit called Search for Common Ground in Beirut, Lebanon, where she helped to promote cross-cultural contact between students from different Lebanese sects as well as the Institute Middle East Understanding in New York City, focusing on media and communications work and social media. Last summer, Nicole worked at the Arab American Institute and helped research candidates’ stances on issues of concern to Arab American voters, such as immigration and foreign policy. Nicole is currently the Teaching Assistant for an undergraduate course at Tufts University called Introduction to Peace and Justice Studies, a class she has helped teach for the past two semesters as well. This summer, Nicole will be working on promoting democracy in the Middle East with the Public International Law & Policy Group, an international pro-bono law firm providing legal assistance to developing states involved in conflicts. She will focus on the North Africa region, specifically on constitution-writing in Libya. She will also conduct an independent research project on the role of the United States in democracy promotion.

Lama Al-ArianLama Al-Arian

Lama Al-Arian is an Arab American who has grown up between the Middle East and the United States. She is a rising junior at American University in Washington, DC, where she is studying Broadcast Journalism, Cinema, and Arabic Language. She has over 4 years of experience in journalism, writing and interning for various publications, including Teen Stuff Magazine in Cairo, Jadaliyya, and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs in DC. During her time at AU, Lama has been an Arabic Teacher’s Assistant, where she tutored students in writing and speaking, and gave presentations on current political and social events. She also acted as a Research Assistant for senior ranking Professor and occupant of the endowed Mohammed Said Farsi Chair or Islamic Peace, Abdul Aziz Said, where she worked on several initiatives including Making Peace Profitable, Localizing Peace, and the annual Islamic Lecture Series.  This summer Lama is working as the Communications Intern at the Arab American Institute in DC. 

Dana BalloutDana Ballout

Dana Ballout will be interning at Al Jazeera English for 'The Stream' program this summer. She recently completed her master's degree at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, where she concentrated on political affairs and national security reporting. Before attending graduate school, she worked at the United Nations Development Program in Beirut, Lebanon, on a project supporting national dialogues and political reform. In Lebanon, she also worked as a freelance photojournalist and writer. Dana received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Irvine, in International Relations.

Stephen BeaversStephan Beavers

Stephan Beavers is a rising junior at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where he is a double major in Philosophy and History. At Kenyon he works in the Archives as well as with the Modern Languages and Literatures Department as a teacher’s assistant. Prior to interning at AAI, Stephan spent the majority of his senior year of high school in Jordan where he worked as a Junior Fellow intern at the King’s Academy, an elite boarding school in Madaba, Jordan. At King’s he worked in the university counseling department, as well as working on outreach art programs for local orphans of central Jordan. This summer, Stephan is placed at the Unite Lebanon Youth Project in Beirut, Lebanon, working on college admissions with Palestinian and Lebanese students.

Raouia BrikiRaouia Briki

Raouia Briki is interning at the Arab American Institute this summer. Raouia was born and raised in Tunisia where she graduated in English literature and civilization from the University of Tunis. She is currently a Fulbright scholar at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia where she is taking classes of Middle Eastern studies and International Politics and working with the department of Modern and Classical Languages. Raouia’s previous experiences include participating in the 2011 Tunisian election observation mission and Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) student leaders program that included courses at University of Delaware and Georgetown University.

UnknownSarah Gold

Sarah Gold was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a Jewish-American father and Muslim-Moroccan mother, and was raised in Mali, the Philippines, Egypt, and Arlington, Virginia.  She a rising junior at Kenyon College, where she majors in International Studies, with a concentration in Islamic Civilization and Cultures, and intended minors in Religious Studies and Arabic. She is a leader in Kenyon’s Middle East Student Association, and also serves as a Peer Counselor and Discrimination Advisor. Sarah’s primary interest is in peace, conflict-resolution, and human rights development in the Middle East. In the past she has held positions at the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, and the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training. This summer she has been placed at the Institute for Policy Studies Project: Foreign Policy in Focus.

Matthew HaugenMatthew Haugen

Matt is a recent graduate from Virginia Tech with degrees in both International Studies and Spanish, and concentrations in World Politics & Policy and Global Development. Matt is the grandson of a Palestinian immigrant and continues to foster a great interest in American policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian question. While at Virginia Tech, Matt served as both the director of concerts and president for the Virginia Tech Union—Virginia Tech's largest, student-run programing board—where he worked to bring diverse groups and viewpoints together. Matt is looking forward to his experience as an intern at the Arab American Institute and hopes to transition into a career in foreign policy analysis, advocacy, or development work. In his spare time he is learning to play banjo and ukulele as well as blogging about wine.

Anna Carolin HaleblianAnna Carolin Haleblian

Anna Carolin Haleblian will be interning at the Public Information Department at the United Nations headquarters in New York this summer. Born in Maryland, Anna Carolin was raised in Aleppo where she graduated from high school with the Syrian Government Baccalaureate in Sciences. In 2007 she moved to Beirut to study Political Sciences and History at the American University of Beirut (AUB). After attaining her BA, Anna interned at the Carnegie Middle East Center as well as the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, at UNRWA headquarters in Beirut, as a Community Communication Officer. Last September Anna began her graduate studies at Harvard University at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

Margaret LowryMargaret Lowry

Margaret Lowry is a recent graduate from the University of Virginia where she received her B.A. in Foreign Affairs and French Literature. Previously, she has interned for the Arab Studies Institute developing databases cataloging the production of knowledge on the Middle East in different forms of media including books, television and film. This summer, she has been placed with the DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival where she works on all aspects of the festival from film selection to marketing and outreach.

Alexander MatikaAlexander Matika

Alex is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Religious Studies and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. His study of the Arabic language has taken him to several countries in the Middle East including Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, where he will be returning this summer to further his studies. Alex’s primary research interests involve the exploration of religious and faith identities, and early Arab American immigrant experiences. He enjoys theology, poetry, documentary films and a good cup of tea. Alex is placed at Churches for Middle East Peace this summer, where he works to mobilize Christians to advocate for a just, lasting, and comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ensuring security, human rights and religious freedom for all people of the region.

Amira MikhailAmira Mikhail

Amira Mikhail is placed at the Atlantic Council this summer. An Egyptian American, born in Evanston, Illinois and raised in Egypt, Amira graduated in 2008 with a B.A. in Psychology. She has been living and working in Cairo since graduation, most recently at the American University in Cairo as the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Tomorrow's Leaders Program as the Scholarship Coordinator. Additionally, she has worked with Manadeel Waraq: The Popular Campaign for the Protection of Children, a local advocacy group documenting violations of the local and international child law as well as abuses towards street children and minors under police and military jurisdiction. Amira is starting her law degree at American University WCL in Fall 2013 with a focus on International Law and Human Rights Law.

Bshara NassarBshara Nassar

Bshara will be working with Churches for Middle East Peace this summer. Born and raised in Bethlehem, Palestine, Bshara graduated from Bethlehem University where he completed a degree in Business and Computer Technology. Bshara has worked with different organizations in Palestine and Washington, DC that seeks to achieve peace and justice in Palestine-Israel where he also shared his stories with many international concerns citizens and policy makers. He is currently getting his master degree in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia. He is looking forward to work with Churches for Middle East Peace this summer.

Melanie SnailMelanie Snail

Melanie Snail is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia, where she majored in Foreign Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies. She also successfully completed UVA's Distinguished Majors Program for Politics and won the Emmerich-Wright Prize given to the outstanding thesis in the program for her dissertation entitled "The Long Revolution: Prospects for Algerian Democratization." Prior to joining the AAI team, Melanie interned in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department. This summer, Melanie will be working in the office of Representative Karen Bass (CA-37). Melanie's future plans are to return to school in the next few years to pursue a masters in international relations and economics, and eventually, a career in foreign or public policy.

Abdulla ZaidAbdulla Zaid

Coming from Sana'a, Yemen, Abdulla is a recent graduate of St. Lawrence University where he received a B.A. in Economics and Government. During college, Abdulla completed an Honors thesis in Economics analyzing the impact of foreign aid on primary school enrollment as well as the role of governance on the effectiveness of aid. Prior to this, he completed an internship as a Research Assistant analyzing the role of China in the Middle East political economy. Through joining the AAI team, Abdulla will work at New America Foundation where he will research economic issues in the Middle East, specifically in Yemen. As part of his role, he will be responsible for producing weekly briefings on Yemen's current political transition.

Abdulla ZaidJade Zoghbi

Jade Zoghbi is a recent graduate from Mount Holyoke College where she completed her degree in International Relations with a focus on civic identity development. She grew up in Germany and Lebanon, and as an undergraduate returned to support the development of the Lebanese community by interning at the Social and Local Development Portfolio of the United Nations Development Program in Beirut. After her semester as an intern with the Arab American Institute this past spring, she is placed at the United Lebanon Youth Project in Beirut to assist Palestinian and Lebanese youth in fostering their language skills and supporting their college planning.


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