When I first was accepted to the Global Practice Bosnia program, I knew immediately which internship I wanted to apply for. Before applying, I had spoken to a few students that had done the program the previous year, and the Atlantic Initiative sounded like the perfect fit for me. As a security student, there are very few options that allow us to fulfill our degree’s internship requirement, but the Atlantic Initiative is one of the organizations that is actually accepted by the Korbel School’s career services office.
I knew there was a chance that the Atlantic Initiative wouldn’t offer me an internship spot, but I was extremely fortunate, and found out that I would be working for them about a month before our departure. The Atlantic Initiative (AI) is a non-profit and non-governmental organization, established in Sarajevo in 2009 by a group of university professors, lecturers, and journalists who share common concerns for the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly related to the slow pace of its accession to NATO and the European Union. The Atlantic Initiative partners on projects with the governments of Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and enjoys support from NATO HQ Sarajevo, the Bosnian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense, the George Marshall Alumni Association in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as a number of non-governmental organizations in the region that share or reflect their mission.
AI focuses on several different projects, but is currently working extensively on gender and justice reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as violent extremism and radicalization that leads to terrorism (right up my ally!). My first assignment with AI dealt with researching the status of women in the various armed forces throughout Balkan countries. Focusing on whether or not women in the Balkan armies had access to avenues that deal with and punish sexual harassment within the armed forces, my research proved to me that so far, very little has been done to address these issues. Although some countries that have made their way into the European Union have vowed to end sexual harassment within the workplace and in the branches of the armed forces, there is very little reporting that takes place, and hardly any data to support if any actual progress has been made.
Currently, I am working on a project that has yet to be published and is politically sensitive, so I cannot speak very much about it. Although I can’t talk much about the project itself, I am honored to have the opportunity to work with such amazing women on such an important topic that needs to be discussed. The Atlantic Initiative has given me a lot of new experience in terms of research, and I hope that I have been as much as an asset to them as they have been to me. I truly value my time that I spend working with them, and it is an opportunity that I believe will make me stand out in the future, whether it is for PhD applications or looking for a post-grad job. Not many people can say that they have worked for a security organization abroad, and I am forever grateful to have been given this chance to do so.