Lauren Geiser

Middle East Research Information Project [MERIP], Washington, D.C.

I used my Wellman Hill Grant to accept a summer internship with the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP). MERIP is located in Washington, D.C. and publishes the quarterly Middle East Report journal. MERIP’s mission is to provide analysis and information about the Middle East to the general, educated public. MERIP is a non-profit, non-governmental organization with no religious, educational, or political ties. As a result, it strives to offer a nonpartisan and accurate perspective into Middle Eastern affairs and politics. I chose to intern with MERIP because I’m interested in the Middle East and wanted journalism experience. I also wanted to work specifically for a non-profit organization. Often, though, non-profit organizations cannot afford to pay a full-time intern. Thanks to the Wellman Hill Grant, this was not a problem.

As an intern, I researched Middle Eastern affairs, edited scholarly articles, and assisted with web design for the organization’s new website. I was given access to all the books and resources in MERIP’s library, so the research opportunities seemed endless. It was rewarding and easy to cultivate relationships with MERIP’s staff members, who were friendly and supportive throughout the summer. There were two highlights to my internship. First, I had the privilege of interviewing the AFL-CIO’s 2010 Meany-Kirkland Human Rights Award winners, Egyptian union leaders Kamal Abu-Eita and Kamal Abbas. It was exciting to work with an Arabic interpreter and hear the Kamals speak their native language. Second, I was asked to contribute to the Fall 2010 issue of the Middle East Report by writing a book review. It was an honor to be published by MERIP and to contribute to public awareness about the Middle East.

MERIP was a perfect fit for my public service goals. Rigorous understanding of the Middle East is essential to maintaining a well-rounded society in the United States. MERIP helps its supporters abandon generalizations and stereotypes about the region. It was thrilling to be a part of that public service. Without the Wellman Hill Grant, my internship at MERIP would not have been possible. I am truly grateful.